Jaco Kriel wins a penalty at the breakdown against Argentina. Photo: Deryck Foster, BackpagePix

Argentina are a proud rugby nation and will be determined to reverse the result in Port Elizabeth when the two teams meet again in Salta on Saturday, according to Springbok flank Jaco Kriel.

The Boks opened their Rugby Championship account on Saturday with a 37-15 triumph over the Pumas at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, scoring four tries in the process.

The sides meet again this weekend, this time on Argentine turf in Salta.

“Going back home, they will be very determined and physical in front of their own passionate fans, so we have to be prepared for a huge onslaught and tough contest,” said Kriel.

The Bok flank, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday, said that mental toughness will be an important aspect of the squad’s preparation. “The smaller, harder field in Salta will make no difference to our approach.

“We all know we have to be mentally prepared and as a player, you cannot let the conditions, the venue or anything else get into your head. We have to focus on the job and continue with our processes.”

Looking back on Saturday’s victory over the Pumas, Kriel said the team enjoyed the win in front of a packed Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

“Our environment is great, the players are enjoying each other and I think the supporters can see that,” said Kriel, who captained the Lions in the latter stages of Super Rugby.

“At the Boks we are all brothers that care, and we all enjoyed the occasion on Saturday in Port Elizabeth. The people of PE were awesome, but now we have to move on and focus on the next job.”

Meanwhile, team doctor Konrad von Hagen said scrumhalf Ross Cronjé will continue his recovery at the Golden Lions after he sustained an ankle injury on Saturday.

Cronje will not travel with the squad to Argentina on Wednesday, and has already been replaced by Jano Vermaak of Western Province.

“We sent Ross for a scan, which showed a ligament tear,” said Von Hagen.

“We decided it would be better for him to recover at his province in Johannesburg, because we have a short turnaround time for the next match, which also involves a lot of travelling.”

The Springboks continued with their preparations in Port Elizabeth on Monday, but left the Eastern Cape for Johannesburg in the evening due to the expected bad weather on Tuesday.

The squad will train in Johannesburg on Tuesday and are set to fly to Argentina on Wednesday morning.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will name his match-23 on Thursday.

SA Rugby, Staff Writer