DURBAN – The oldest cliché in rugby holds that the game is “won and lost up front”, and quite rightly so because if a team goes backwards in this department, the disadvantage reverberates all the way though the team to the fullback.
It is why the Pumas this week will be fearing the Springboks ahead of their Rugby Championship match in Salta because of the incredible depth the South Africans have in the front row.
This was the one area where the Argentinians were historically strong but in recent years their strength has become a weakness.
The tight-knit “Bajada” scrum has disappeared into folklore and now the set scrum is an area where opposition teams target the Pumas.
Front row strength was also traditionally a strength in South African rugby but for much of the professional era the Boks have more or less marked time in this department or, indeed, been inferior.