Matt Proudfoot said the South Africans have their feet firmly planted on the ground. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

BUENOS AIRES – The two Tests against Argentina, starting with Saturday’s challenging encounter in Salta, will provide the Springboks with more opportunities to prepare for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said in Buenos Aires on Monday.

The Springboks assembled in the Argentine capital at the weekend after completing a week of training in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Pumas host the Springboks in the high altitude of Salta this weekend in the final Test of the truncated Castle Lager Rugby Championship, and the two teams then play each other a week later in Pretoria.

The Springboks have a one-point advantage over the All Blacks at the top of the Rugby Championship standings after a bonus-point win over the Wallabies in Johannesburg and a thrilling comeback draw with New Zealand in Wellington.

Proudfoot said the South Africans have their feet firmly planted on the ground, and they will not get ahead of themselves as they build towards Saturday’s match.

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“We understand the challenges of playing in Salta, having won one and lost one there, and we know it will be another big challenge for us on Saturday,” said Proudfoot.

“We will be making some brave calls this week, as we did against Australia and New Zealand in the last three weeks, as we prepare for this very important Pumas challenge.

“We understand the challenge of the game having come here last year and losing in Mendoza. We played them before that in Salta and won, and the year before that we lost to them in Salta. So we are well aware of the challenge that the Pumas pose when you play them at home.”

Matt Proudfoot and the Springboks during a training session in Johannesburg in July. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

A Springbok win in hostile away conditions will be a big incentive for the team.

“We would like to win the game, but our focus is to just continue with the momentum we built (against the Wallabies and All Blacks) and preparing for the World Cup,” said Proudfoot.

“All four teams in the Rugby Championship are scrambling for momentum at the moment before we go to the RWC.

“We have this week and next week Argentina travel to South Africa, so I think we have two nice weeks where the two of us can use the opportunities to test the depth in our squads and our strategies before the RWC.”

Having arriving arrived in two groups in Buenos Aires, the Springboks set out to fine-tune their match preparations on Monday.

Rassie Erasmus, the national director of rugby, will announce the Springbok team on Wednesday afternoon (local time). 

African News Agency (ANA)