Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says his side has to break out of the blocks with intensity from the get-go ahead of Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
The Springboks need to win the match and preferably with a bonus point to remain in the title race after New Zealand claimed dramatic victory against Australia on Thursday.
Kolisi said South Africa are bracing themselves for a big battle at at Estadio Libertadores De América and hope to keep up the intensity this weekend.
“It helped a lot in our preparation that we could adapt to the conditions and time zone in Argentina over an extended time and also to have time to explore and experience the similarities between South Africa and Argentina,” said Kolisi.
“We are expecting a tough battle against the hosts, and we know have to bring as much intensity as possible from the outset because they start games strongly.
“We had a good week-and-a-half of training and a few days off as well last week, so we are looking forward to the clash.”
Kolisi emphasised the importance of protecting the ball at the breakdowns against a strong Argentinian loose trio.
“It will be important to stick to our game plan. Their loose forwards are all good and off the ball, so we need to look after the ball at the breakdowns and make sure we make use of the opportunities we create in the match.”
Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says they won’t be taking the Los Pumas lightly as they prepare for a tough battle.
“Argentinean people are very passionate about their country, and there is a lot of motivation around what they do. They also play for their supporters so we know that if we don’t pitch up on the day we can get punished. We saw what they did against Australia,” said Stick.
“There are no easy games in this competition, so we must be switched on. They selected a strong team, and we know what we have to be prepared for.”
15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Lucio Cinti, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez; 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Substitutes: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Thomas Gallo, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Matias Moroni
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Elrigh Louw, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Frans Steyn
Stick was excited to see the same backline in action with Damian Willemse earning another start at flyhalf and said building momentum was vital for the team.
“The main thing for us is to get better in the way we play. It is also good to have players such as Damian and Willie (le Roux) that like to take opportunities, so if Argentina lifts the intensity, we’ll be able to adapt to that world.”
Stick said he was excited to see Willemse getting another run at flyhalf.
“I’m happy to see him get another chance to play No 10. He’s a special player and he is becoming more mature in his game. I’m happy to see him grow as a player and hopefully he’ll get even better.”
Kick-off is at 21:10 SA time.