Argentina captain Agustin Creevy (right) signs the national anthem with his teammates. Photo: EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

PORT ELIZABETH  The Springboks know better than to just focus on Argentina’s scrum in preparation for their Rugby Championship-opener at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

In the build-up to the Test, Bok scrum coach Matt Proudfoot said they had focused on a few areas they thought would be crucial in building on the progress evident after their series whitewash over the French in June.

He mentioned the aerial game - an area the Pumas are very familiar with - as one of those areas.

And on Tuesday, attacking coach Franco Smith also emphasised the Boks know the Argentines are not going to make it an easy afternoon in PE come the weekend.

“We know they will bring something different. It will be a different Argentina side to the one we saw in Super Rugby," Smith said.

“I believe they are full of confidence and they play to their strengths. They like to open the game up and it is going to be important for us to be ready for the challenge.

"The first phase will be the big match for us, so we have to work hard at settling down in our own systems.”

“The Argentina side can create anything from nothing, and therefore the attention this week has been on preparing for a complete onslaught and not just certain aspects.”

“We’re expecting everything and anything from them,” the Bok attack coach said.

So, as as Smith alluded to, the Pumas will pose a threat in more area than one.

Firstly, we all know Argentina’s scrum is strong, and if they opt to use their famous Bajada technique, it’s even tougher to battle.

The scrumming technique focusses all the power of the pack to the hooker

But whether or not they will use the Bajada will only be seen on Saturday, after all, the technique has drifted in and out of use over the past few years.

But their scrummaging is, nonetheless, one of their strengths, and the Boks will obviously have to be on point in this department.

And again, it’s not just the scrums they will need to watch.

The Argentines are strong when it comes to their set-phases in general - their mauling is solid and their breakdown work is also something that can wreak havoc on the opposition.

Speaking of the Pumas’ breakdown ability, the Springboks will get the ideal test to measure their breakdown work and also to assess their loose forwards.

Neither their attacking and defensive breakdown are easy to deal with and, earlier in the week, assistant coach Johann Van Graan also mentioned it is the Argentinians’ breakdown work that has been especially great over the past few years.

They can attack from the set-piece and they can be equally dangerous in broken play, so there are a number of areas that will be key on Saturday - a number of areas, but also a number of players.

And right at the front of that team will be Argentinian hard man Agustin Creevy - the skipper who is always a threat with his work at the breakdowns and in the set-pieces, and his ability in the loose.

Other dangerous customers include flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, flanker Pablo Matero, fullback Juan Martin Hernandez, lock Tomas Lavanini and scrumhalf Martin Landajo.

There will be many players the Boks have to watch on Saturday, along with those many areas.

But the the Springboks seem to know what to expect - an all-out battle - and that’s great.

Because, as we all know, the Argentinians are a completely different beast when they put on the blue-and-white striped national jersey.

So the Boks should beware the Bajada, but not only the Bajada.


Cape Times

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