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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Argentina and South Africa battle to a tense draw in Mendoza

Argentina lived up to their reputation as a very difficult side to beat at home as they led the Springboks for the majority of their Mendoza Test match, before the two sides shared the points with a 16-16 draw come full time.

The home side were fired up from the get-go, while the visitors looked lacklustre and at times leaderless under the physical confrontation of Los Pumas. 

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer relied on a charge-down try to help the Boks, who have never lost to Argentina, save a bit of face. The breakdown was a particular area of concern for South Africa, where their new loose trio combination failed to deal with the passion of the home side.

"All credit to Argentina. We were not good enough and they played very well, but we let our country and ourselves down tonight," said Meyer after the game.

"Argentina came hard at us as expected, creating many difficult situations for our inexperienced team, and we were found wanting at times when it came to mental toughness.

"I am sorry the way we played did not honour the great welcome we had in Mendoza. The people can be proud of their team," said Meyer of Argentina, who were playing only their second match in the expanded southern hemisphere competition.

Morne Steyn had a chance to take the lead with seven minutes left, but his kick sailed wide.

Inspirational Argentine captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe said that his team had made progress, and now have an even bigger task ahead of them.

"There was much talk this week about improving how we got out of our own half and for a big part of the match we did that well. The key factors were attitude, commitment and confidence.

"We made progress from last week in Cape Town and now we must prepare for the biggest challenges we will face as players," he said of next months tour of Australasia.

New Zealand lead the Rugby Championship on eight points, followed by South Africa on six, Argentina on two, and Australia with zero.

How do you think Argentina will fare away against New Zealand and Australia? Who was your player of the match? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted at 3:55 pm | 31 comments

South Africa win comfortably against Argentina at Newlands

Viewing 31 comments

momis August 26, 2012 10:47 pm

Gracias por tanto pumas

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Sil August 27, 2012 12:30 am

I know Argentina isn't as good as the other teams but they just proved they deserve to be included in a regular tournament to get better. Thanks to all who made that possible. Go Pumas!!!

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Reality August 27, 2012 12:32 am

"Those are the foothills of the Alps"? Oh my God.

Anyway, super turnover there at the end from the winger; he really saved Argentina's bacon. I can see them giving Australia a good run for their money now. I'd say a draw against SA and a victory over Australia in their first year could be considered a resounding success.

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Pretzel August 27, 2012 1:54 am

Absolutely brilliant by the Pumas... A lot of top teams fans comment on how "unless it's a win then it's nothing to celebrate" but this is truly a loss to the Boks and victory to the Puma's.

I was sceptical of how well they'd do in their first year, I truly had them notched as the "whipping boys"..."wooden spoon" carriers etc etc... But apparently not..

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j man August 27, 2012 2:46 am

Sorry mate , they were alps, argentinian alps . nice touch I thought . Pumas were great , being irish I'm well aware of their ability . They won't lose too many at home ,and will start to kick ass in november, in europe on a regular basis . Not being let into the 6 nations by the old boys club may end up being one of the most important things to happen argentinian rugby .At least if their players start playing super rugby (because they are good enough)their season would become more manageable for their clubs,coaches and trainers .That could only help their cause

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Pretzel August 27, 2012 10:34 am

I don't think it was the "old boys club" in a sense, I read somewhere that they felt that Argentina's future lay in the SH, and to be honest I agree with it. I'd rather see them progress their game in the SH that in the NH. They play a bit like France I find, tough but still fast, and France is/was one of the only NH teams which played a BIT like a SH team....

I think it is a good choice to stick them in the 3N (now 4N) it will improve their rugby and they'll have to face some gruelling travelling before each match, which is all positive in the end...

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Reality August 27, 2012 10:35 am

Maybe they're Alpine mountains, but can you say 'The Alps' when talking about any 'young' mountains? I thought the term 'The Alps' was restricted to...well, The Alps. Or am I wrong?

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proptank August 27, 2012 11:31 am

it was a mistake by the commentator, unless mendoza has moved considerably since i was there it's the andes that you can see in the background. nothing to do with the alps.

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the prof August 28, 2012 1:27 am

"alp": (OED, definition #2) any high, especially snow-capped mountain.

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Mat September 03, 2012 1:09 pm

I think the point that @Reality was making is that when you refer to THE Alps, it means the mountains in Europe.

The word "alp" on it's own might have a more general meaning, but it is the use of the definite article that makes the difference here: the commentator didn't say "some alps" (general meaning), but said "The Alps" (specific meaning).

And now back to the rugby...

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the prof September 04, 2012 1:40 am

I think the point that @Reality was making is that when you refer to THE Alps, it means the mountains in Europe.

Not necessarily. There are other mountain ranges around the world which have Alps as part of their name and are often known locally as the Alps, but "alp(s)" does have a more general meaning and just because it is not the most common usage doesn't make it incorrect.
Just as we say "the mountains in the distance" we can say "the alps in the background". The commentator is correct.

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Gallego August 27, 2012 3:21 am

Walsh, you're still awful as fuck, mate.

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moddeur August 27, 2012 6:54 am

When you're a visitor, you have got to know that the Argies are serious about playing at home, especially when they name the stadium you play in after the Falkland islands (Malvinas). France knows something about it, losing 5 of their last 6 matches in Argentina (the 6th match, and victory for France, was only this summer against the Argentina B team, while the A team was away preparing the Four Nations).

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Facepalm August 27, 2012 1:41 pm

Their is no shame in losing an away game in Argentina. The constant noise of the crowd and sea of blue would affect any player.

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Jeri August 27, 2012 7:25 am

Holy crap Argentina was awesome!

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rugby08 August 27, 2012 9:56 am

More like less crap than South Africa

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Colombes August 27, 2012 8:56 am

This draw is like a victory for the Pumas, as they maybe couldn't expect it for their first 4N edition. it just shows that Argentina has its place into the Four Nations and will shut some mouths in the SH.
Argentinian stadiums are always a very hard place to play and win, so no shame for boks to go back with a draw

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Erik August 27, 2012 11:26 am

Great job by the Puma's, I have to say this makes the All Black's job in winning again much easier.

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kronic August 27, 2012 11:51 am

Wish they'd turn the atmosphere mics up a tad. Beautiful hearing the Argies sing etc. best fans in World Rugby, no doubt.

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Facepalm August 27, 2012 1:44 pm

Francois Hougard is a great athlete but not a great scrum half. He just isn't as good as Pianaar. Pianaar could also assume kicking duties from the woeful Morne Steyn. I'd be surprised if he doesn't start next game.

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Filigiakke August 27, 2012 5:32 pm

He most probably meant the Andes. The Alps are still in Europe as far as I know. The area of Mendoza is well know for its wines.

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Jon August 29, 2012 1:32 am

The Alps is a place in Europe.
The alps is just some mountains.
Any group of mountains can be considered alps.
It's just an abbreviation of the word alpine.

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Nacho August 28, 2012 4:40 am

Great game by Los Pumas! Thanks South Africa for helping us join this competition, as well for hosting our Pampas team to join Vodacom Cup for 3 years already, and for receiving high school rugby teams year after year!! Sorry for the loud wisling before goal kick attemps, nothing personal, just part of the fans show putting some extra little pressure on our guests :)
Looking forward to an exciting 4N, thanks for considering us!
Saludos!

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Ponimaker August 29, 2012 4:41 am

Nacho, muy buenas palabras! Esas son las que nos dejan bien parados y demuestran el espíritu del rugby argentino. Lástima que se opaca con las boludeces como la de silbar a los pateadores, la verdad que la camuflaste muy bien con lo del "extra pressure" jaja es una buena forma de justificarlo y no quedar tan mal.
Saludos.
Go Argentina!

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Rob Rich August 28, 2012 1:03 pm

Fantastic by the Pumas, well played Argentina!
Showing they deserve to be in a premier competition like The Championship

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moddeur August 28, 2012 3:04 pm

I watch a lot of Top14 and my feeling is that the whole "diving" smudge on French rugby is caused by one in every three scrum-halves, and about 1 back (center, wing, fullback) per team. I've almost never seen a front-rower go down.
I hope I'm objective, because I wouldn't like the following definition of rugby to require an adjustment:
"Rugby is a game in which as soon as an Italian player goes down, he gets right back up on his feet"

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Pretzel August 28, 2012 4:10 pm

Granted it was years ago but I always cringe at this clip of a front rower:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rJrZdhtJQ4

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moddeur August 28, 2012 8:17 pm

I don't know how my comment ended up here on the wrong thread (it was aimed at Round 2 of the Top 14). Horrible video of Azam diving, that's just depressing!

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Jon August 29, 2012 1:46 am

Great work Pumas, always hard to beat at home.
I said at the start of the championship that the team Argentina will feel most at home playing South Africa, because their styles are so similar.
Both teams kick alot, have big physical forward packs, and base their game around field position and pressure to force the other team into mistakes.

Both teams play this way. It's a very predictable way to play. Argentina is right at home with that style. They love to keep it tight and just make it a physical and field position contest.

I think they will struggle far more with the Antipodean style of play (the attacking side). The way NZ and Australia play is different (though obviously NZ is currently much better at it). They try to create overlaps and gaps, they use alot of dummy runners, cut-out passes, offloads, fast rucks, instead of running over the top of the defender the try to go round him or past him. They try to force the other team to make lots of decisions, which results in a confused defense that starts making incorrect decisions and misses tackles as a result.
So instead of knowing that the ball runner is going to try to crash over the top of you and having to just concentrate on making the tackle and matching up physically, you have to start reading the attack, trying to decide who's going to get the ball, what angle he's going to run, who he's going to offload to.

I think Argentina will really struggle with this side, and it will stretch their defensive system. In the past this has been the case.

However, if they manage to turn the games against the antipodeans into an arm wrestle, like this match against South Africa was, they are more than capable of the upset, especially at home.

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Javier Xavier August 29, 2012 3:05 am

Agree with Jon. SA's game suits Argentina. I watched both games last weekend and the speed of the NZ-AUS game is quite different, much faster. SA is particularly slow, at least they were in Mendoza and not much better vs. England.

Interestingly SA was slow vs Argies despite very quick service from Hougaard, who was dynamic. I somewhat disagree with Facepalm in this regard, Pienaar is very good no doubt but Hougaard was one of a few Boks who stood up in Mendoza (Alberts was the other one; Etzebeth and, yes, Krishner were solid, the rest was poor).

A lot of overreaction both from AUS and RSA after last weekend. Beating the ABs on current form needs a serious off-night from the Kiwis (eg. 2nd Irish test) or some serious niggling of McCaw plus an off-night for Carter (eg. Chiefs vs Crusaders semi). Australia not up for it atm, too many injuries and out of form players, not enough depth. But they are still a very good team, top 3 in the world for sure. They are really the only ones who match (or come within 22 points) of the ABs for the combination of speed, aggression, skills. But they just don't have the depth; or the passion right now after a tough SR season, and this may ultimately be Dean's undoing. He has done as well as he could hope with this team.

As for the Boks, the game plan is a bit too simple and not that well executed. Lots of turnovers when the ball gets to the backs, credit to the Argie backs, who are aggressive on defense and capitalize on isolated prey, but also shame on the forwards, whi need to. E more mobile. Ultimately though the problem is at the pivot, when the 5/8 offers no attacking threat and either passes or (mostly) kicks, the defense has a much easier time. Tough to blame one guy, especially one who is so reliable with the boot...so blame it in the Player AND the system he is asked to play.

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Gaston August 29, 2012 8:59 pm

Ture mate, was at the stadium last saturday... simply amazing atmosphere for a rugby match!

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