Rugby Championship

Pumas star wishes Boks didn't beat All Blacks

2018-09-28 08:16
Emiliano Boffelli
Emiliano Boffelli (Getty Images)

Buenos Aires - Argentina backline star Emiliano Boffelli wishes New Zealand had won their last Rugby Championship match, instead of suffering a stunning home defeat by South Africa.

He believes the All Blacks will now be even more desperate for a fifth-round victory in Buenos Aires on Saturday against South American opponents they have never lost to.

Apart from getting back on a winning trail they are so familiar with, New Zealand can seal a sixth southern hemisphere championship title if they pull off a bonus-point victory.

"Congratulations to the Springboks on their victory," said Boffelli, a winger converted into an equally impressive fullback when Joaquin Tuculet was sidelined indefinitely.

"But they did us no favours," he added after a training session ahead of the fifth-round clash at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, a venue used predominantly for football.

"I wanted New Zealand to come here having beaten South Africa because it is so seldom that they lose two matches in a row."

New Zealand last suffered successive Test losses in 2011 when they were beaten 18-5 in South Africa and 25-20 in Australia.

"To overcome the All Blacks you have to play a perfect game and hope they do not," admitted the tall 23-year-old.

"Focus is a key factor when you are playing against the best rugby team in the world. We must strive for perfection in order to beat them for the first time."

Boffelli has formed a dynamic attacking trio with wingers Bautista Delguy and Ramiro Moyano this year, but a rib injury rules out the latter this weekend.

The Pumas have undergone an encouraging U-turn since former national team hooker Mario Ledesma succeeded Daniel Hourcade as coach in the middle of this year.

Hourcade exceeded expectations by taking Argentina to fourth place at the 2015 World Cup in England, but then oversaw a horror run of 22 losses in 28 Tests.

Having taken the Argentine Jaguares to the Super Rugby playoffs for the first time in his maiden season in charge, Ledesma has had a similar positive impact on the national team.

Victories over South Africa at home and Australia away mean they have already surpassed their previous best showing in the seven-year Rugby Championship.

"Something is happening in this team - you can sense it," he noted after the win over the Wallabies. "There is a positive fever, and it's contagious."

The ultimate challenge for Ledesma is a first victory over New Zealand - Argentina have drawn one Test against them and lost 26.

New Zealand have rested skipper and number eight Kieran Read and backline dynamo Damian McKenzie has returned home due to a family bereavement.

World Cup-winning coach Steve Hansen picked what he considers the best available team, one that shows six changes from that which started the 36-34 defeat by South Africa.

Wing Waisake Naholo, centre Sonny Bill Williams, scrum-half TJ Perenara, prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi and loose forwards Shannon Frizzell and Luke Whitelock have been drafted in.

Centre Ryan Crotty believes the All Blacks know where they went wrong against the Springboks, who triumphed despite being outscored by six tries to five.

"It's really about our connections out there... feeding in everything we see that is critical for them (the playmakers) to make the right calls."

New Zealand scored a bonus-point 46-24 victory over Argentina when they met in Nelson this month.

Teams:

Argentina

15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Matias Moroni, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Matias Orlando, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere

New Zealand

15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock (captain), 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Read more on:    argentina  |  all blacks  |  rugby championship  |  rugby

 

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