The Pumas are confident of giving the Springboks a good match, but there are reservations about the ELVs and also the fitness of their Europe-based players.
That was the gist of the media conference of the Argentina rugby team that arrived in Johannesburg on Thursday for the one-off Nelson Mandela Tribute test at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg in a week’s time.
SAPA reports that they are however not using it as an excuse. In fact, for the visitors it is an honour to play against what they regard as the best team in the world and a benchmark to measure their young players against.
“We have a number of new players who are new to this level and we want to see they shape up to the Springboks. For us this is an opportunity to measure their standard and one can also only improve if you compete against the best,” said coach Santiago Phelan.
“The Test is also important to us with our ambition to play in the Sanzar competition (now the Tri-Nations). We want to do well against the Springboks. And of course any Test against South Africa is always important.”
Phelan said that none of their 26 players has played under the new laws. “We have however studied them thoroughly and have trained with the new laws, but South Africa will no doubt have an advantage in this respect.”
Referee for the match, Wayne Barnes from England, will also have his first taste of the ELVs at Test level, although he will have a run under the new laws on Saturday when he officiates in the First Division Currie Cup match between SWD Eagles and the Pumas in George.
“We nevertheless expect to play a good game,” Phelan said, “although our players from Europe are between seasons and perhaps not quite match fit. But we have prepared well, and have high expectations for the game.”
The Argentina Pumas have their first two training sessions in South Africa on Friday and will follow this up with another two on Saturday before a rest day on Sunday.Tweet