Pumas: ‘We will be competitive’

Argentine captain Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe and flyhalf Juan Martín Hernández believe the Pumas will give the Springboks a good challenge at Newlands on Saturday.

Argentina launched its new jersey (which was designed and sponsored by Nike) in Newlands on Wednesday evening. The occasion was a moment for the South American team to celebrate the eve of their debut in Sanzar’s Test tournament, the Rugby Championship (formerly known as the Tri-Nations).

When Lobbe and Hernandez were questioned by the media, the Argentina journalists queried their thoughts on the perception that the Springboks ‘were sure to win’ this weekend.

Hernandez believed it would be a closer contest than suggested by the South African pundits: ‘I must admit, I haven’t been reading much. But if what you’re telling me is true, I have to say that we will give the Springboks a good challenge.

‘It will be a tactical game. South Africa like to use the boot very often. That’s the type of game we can execute, but we are very new to the competition and that style of play. We will have to see how things go.’

Lobbe added that the Pumas will do very well if they play to their potential.

‘We’ve had a good week of preparations,’ said Lobbe. ‘If we want to win, we need to keep our concentration up for the full 80 minutes. We have to pay close attention to detail and have a strong defence. We also have to play a territorial game and force play into their half. We also have to have good discipline.’

Lobbe also said Argentina’s debut this weekend will be a proud moment for his nation.

‘This Test on Saturday will be a historical moment in our rugby,’ said Lobbe. ‘I don’t think it will be more important than some of our wins at the 2007 and 2011 World Cup, but it will be celebrated in the same view. This is a new chapter and we are all very excited.

‘We hope to do well and to pick up the desired results.’

By Gareth Duncan, in Cape Town