Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot says South Africa must guard against potent Argentine counter-attacks when the sides clash at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium next Saturday.
After their runaway 3-0 whitewash win over France, the Boks are desperate to make a winning start in their Rugby Championship campaign in Port Elizabeth at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“Argentina look to really turn the ball over and then unleash a potent counter-attack, and we are well aware of that,” Proudfoot said.
“We have done a lot of preparation and we were caught out a bit against them in Salta last year with their aerial game. So that is one of the areas we have been focusing on.
“We must not be under any illusion that this the same side that play Super Rugby. When they put on that white and blue jersey they have a lot of pride. You can see in the way they sing the anthem that it matters to them to wear that jersey as it does to our guys to wear our jersey.
“The Springboks are preparing for the toughest international competition in the world, and we are preparing for it really well.”
Proudfoot said the Boks could expect a tough forward battle when they faced a fiery Argentine pack.
“Without a doubt we can expect a tough forward battle. The Argentines are quite known for it. They balanced their game out with a lot of influences from Graham Henry [former All Blacks coach].
“So they are a side that have quite a good balance now, but their set phase stuff is very competent. We know they have had a lot of time to prepare. The nice thing for them is their whole squad is in Argentina, so it is quite easy for them to prepare.”
Proudfoot said it was vital that the Springboks hit the ground running in the opening encounter in the Rugby Championship.
“If you start with a win you can start building momentum. So we could see in the first session the guys took a couple of minutes to get used to it.
“One thing that stands out about this group is the intensity that they train with. There might have been a few things we had to discuss after the first session, but they way they have trained has really been remarkable.”
The coach said it was beneficial that South Africa had gathered early to prepare for the test.
“Preparation time is golden. It gives you the opportunity to be successful. The more time you spend with players the more reliant you get on what you are trying to do.
“We had a good function last night and you can see the good spirits the players are in. They have just come out of a tough Super Rugby campaign where they hammered the hell out of each other, but you can see the way they get on.
“That makes it so much more rewarding having this extra week to prepare,” Proudfoot said.
Some of the team will be attending a flag-hoisting event in support of the SA Rugby 2023 Rugby World Cup Bid campaign today.
Proceedings at the Donkin Reserve will start at 7.30am and the Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, as well as four players – Tendai Mtawarira, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein and Curwin Bosch – will be in attendance.