DURBAN - The Argentina side has always been seen as a bit of a charity addition to what was once known as the Tri-Nations. The South Americans struggled in the past, but things are changing, especially with their addition to Super Rugby as well.
Both the Jaguares, and the Pumas, which are almost interchangeable in terms of their makeup, have grown exponentially over the last few years. They have, in Super Rugby, beaten all of the South African side this year, made the play-offs, and won well away from home.
As Los Pumas, they have beaten the Springboks, home and away, and Australians, and given the All Blacks a run for their money. All of these factors has led to the Springboks taking them very seriously for this opening encounter in Durban on Saturday. Springbok assistant coach, Matt Proudfoot, spoke with reverence about the Pumas, especially in an aspect he knows a lot about - the scrums.
Argentina have at their helm a famed scrummager as head coach in Mario Ledesma, and because of this, Proudfoot predicts a return to their traditional strengths. Ledesma has also broken the blockade on selecting overseas based players by including Saracens-based tighthead, Juan Figallo who last played in the 2015 World Cup.
“Brining in quality players from overseas does improve your, in this case, scrum - we have done the same,” Proudfoot explained in regards to Figallo’s call up. “But they will be formidable, no matter who plays for them.