Springbok assistant coach John McFarland on Tuesday said it’s a misconception that Argentina are a one-dimensional side.
The Pumas relied primarily on a kick-and-chase approach and created few try-scoring opportunities in the historic Rugby Championship clash in Cape Town at the weekend.
McFarland believes Argentina displayed in their warm-up matches in the lead up to the four-nation tournament that they are willing and able to play an attacking game.
“Argentina are playing very different rugby to what they played in the past. They’re prepared to use their backs more and move the ball a little wider,” McFarland said at a media conference in Mendoza.
“They’re playing with quite a lot more width than they played with in the past. They’re prepared to go to the edge of the field and they’re prepared to come back into the middle.”
McFarland also dismissed suggestions that Argentina do not pose any major threats on attack. He said that despite being shutout in the try-scoring stakes, the Pumas kept the Springboks honest on defence.
“They put us under a lot of pressure. I just think we were well prepared for them and were able to dominate them in the collisions. Certainly they did cause us a few problems with their high ball game but I think our back three dealt very well with that.
“Their backs were dangerous. They did move the ball around and picked up odd bits of momentum; the thing was we managed to scramble well and get our line set and get moving forward again,” he said.
McFarland noted that Argentina’s bigger improvement was their counter-attacking. “Whereas in the past where they would launch high balls back, now they’re prepared to give the ball a bit of width and air.”
He added that Saturday’s return fixture will be an all together different challenge to the one at Newlands.
“Every game is a different challenge and obviously here they will be very passionate and come out looking to execute what they’ve been doing over the last two or three weeks.”
McFarland said negating the Pumas’ respected driving mauls will once again be key and in that regard, said the Springboks will look to enforce their superiority in the line-outs.
“We don’t want to give them chances to build it. If your line-out is functioning well and your lineout competing is functioning well then they shouldn’t be able to get that go-forward. It’s certainly a strength of their game and not something that you want to give them changes of getting into the game.”
By Quintin van Jaarsveld