Pumas vs Springboks Preview: Rugby Championships 2012
Great times last Saturday at Newlands, great times! I did not realise until we got to our seats that we were sitting in the front row on the 22. Well done Warren for organising tickets. Like a Sir!
The Springboks won the Test easily and although missing out on the fourth try will be mostly happy with their performance. They will get better and specifically their attacking play should improve this week. The bummer of the day was of course the loss Bismark du Plessis in the first 5 mins and sadly for the player and Bok fans everywhere it looks like he will be out for at least 7 months. Bleak times and no mistake but let’s wipe away the tears, down our drinks and focus on the historic game ahead.
Los Pumas vs Springboks
Pumas coach Santiago Phelan originally made only one change to the starting line up by bringing in Martin Rodriguez at fullback but on Tuesday star flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez tore a leg muscle in training and will not recover in time for the Mendoza clash. A replacement has yet to be decided but the loss of Hernandez is a crrritical blow to their chances of an upset on Saturday and his experience will be sorely missed.
Heyneke Meyer has made two changes to the starting side with Adriaan Strauss slotting in at hooker in place of Bismark and Bulls flank Jacques flowing locks Potgieter (get a haircut dude, seriously) getting a start with Willem Alberts moving to 8th man and Keegan Daniels dropping to the bench. Daniels had a solid if not spectacular game last week and is probably a better option as an impact player given the powerful Argentinian forward pack.
There was some doubt over Andries Bekker and Bryan Habana but both have passed fitness tests to take their places in the starting team. Bryan played incredibly well on the right-wing and scored a great try after collecting a perfectly weighted chip kick by Morne Steyn. Steyn was the man of the match and besides not missing a kick all night was standing flatter on attack and played better than he has all year. The two-week break seems to have done him the world of good and a hearty pat on the back for answering your critics with a quality all round performance, good sir, nicely done.
The Bok backs were a bit quiet on the soft Newlands field last Sat but will fancy their chances on the hard dry surface in Mendoza which should be chock-a-block filled with passionate fans. Apparently the Springboks have been made to feel very welcome since arriving but sponsors Renault recently whipped out this tongue in cheek ad ‘welcoming’ the Springboks to Argentina.
Not to be outdone, Klipdrift came up with a reply…
The Pumas will once again come out firing and may well look to play a more expansive game in the search for their first Rugby Championship victory but this will play into the Springboks hands and I reckon they will make up for last week with a 4 try bonus point win.
Venue: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
Kick-Off: Sat 25th, 21:10pm
Referee: Steve I can’t believe it either Walsh
Pumas vs Springboks Prediction: Bokke by 17-25