Los Pumas name formidable side for Boks
The Springboks are readying themselves for a massive onslaught when they face Argentina at the FNB Stadium on Saturday August 17.
While Argentina are the fourth-ranked team in the Castle Rugby Championship, they announced a very strong 26-man squad for their opening match against the Springboks, and will be hoping to pull off a massive upset in Soweto.
And while all the focus has been on the other three countries, Los Pumas have put together a formidable outfit who are to be well prepared for the match.
The team has been preparing at the High Performance Centre in Pensacola, Florida in the United States for the past month, ironing out small details in a very professional environment that has produced several Olympic Champions.
Add to this the arrival of World Cup winning coach Graham Henry, who has joined the team fulltime as a consultant for the Rugby Championship and they won’t be short of technical know-how as they prepare to take on the Springboks as well.
The Pumas also withdrew many of their top players from the recent June internationals against England and played a young team, losing heavily in the process as they look rather to surprise against the southern hemisphere giants.
The first indication of what they can do will come this Friday when they face the touring New South Wales side in Salta before heading to Johannesburg.
The Boks know just how dangerous the Pumas can be and have been preparing for a tough opener for a while now, with memories of Mendoza last year still fresh in their minds.
Bok captain Jean de Villiers said they won’t be underestimating the Pumas this year. They were no less of a challenge than the Wallabies and All Blacks.
“We had the same schedule last year, and we know we need to win all our games. That is our goal, so it doesn’t matter who you play first or last, you need to play well against all of them,” De Villiers said.
“They will be tough as always. It’s never easy when you play those unions and Argentina had great preparation as well. They played a B or C team against England, they rested their mainline players and have prepared well. It will be a tough test.
“It’s more focusing on what we can do than on the other teams. It’s an old cliché and I think for that reason we can be positive on what we have achieved and how we have progressed as a team.”
With several of their European-based players on the camp with them for the last month, the Pumas are set to be a lot more dangerous than many South Africans would give them credit for.
Fullbacks: Juan Martín Hernández (Racing Métro, France), Joaquín Tuculet (unattached)
Wings: Horacio Agulla (Bath, England), Lucas González Amorosino (unattached), Gonzalo Camacho (Leicester, England), Juan Imhoff (Racing Métro, France)
Centres: Marcelo Bosch (Saracens, England), Felipe Contepomi (Newman), Santiago Fernández (unattached)Flyhalf: Nicolás Sánchez (Bordeaux-Begles, France)
Scrumhalves: Tomás Cubelli (Belgrano Athletic), Martín Landajo (CASI)
Backrow: Juan Fernández Lobbe (Toulon, France), Juan Manuel Leguizamón (Lyon, France), Nahuel Lobo (Newcastle, England), Pablo Matera (Los Pampas XV), Leonardo Senatore (Worcester, England)
Second row: Patricio Albacete (Toulouse, France), Manuel Carizza (unattached), Julio Farías Cabello (Tucumán), Mariano Galarza (Los Pampas XV)
Props: Marcos Ayerza (Leicester, England), Matías Díaz (Tequé), Juan Figallo (Montpellier, France)
Hookers : Agustín Creevy (Worcester, England), Eusebio Guiñazú (Bath, England)