Don’t make the mistake of thinking it will be easy for the Springboks in Port Elizabeth against the Pumas. They will win – and win by …
The Pumas are not the Super Rugby Jaguares in disguise. There are many duplications in the two respective squads but the two sides can’t be viewed equally. They have different coaching staffs, who have different views on which players are the best combinations and which players are better suited to starting and impact roles.
The Pumas don’t translate into the Jaguares and vice versa.
There are on average eight players who consistently start for the Pumas and Jaguares in the same position and have the same role in Super Rugby and in Test matches.
There’s also the major difference of playing for one’s country and for one’s region.
The Lions are not the Springboks and the Crusaders are not the All Blacks, even though the two Super Rugby finalists make up roughly 50 percent of the respective current Test run on XVs.
The Pumas are a different beast to the Jaguares, especially when it comes to the collective effort. The Jaguares’s Super Rugby returns count for nothing when it comes to Test rugby.
A comparison between the Jaguares and Pumas selections shows the following:
*10 of Pumas starting XV v Springboks started in Jaguares starting XV in win against the Lions in Buenos Aires.
*8 of Pumas starting XV v Springboks started in Jaguares starting XV in 24-21 defeat against the Lions in Johannesburg.
*7 of Pumas starting XV v Springboks started in Jaguares starting XV started in 31-30 defeat against Kings in Buenos Aires.
The most consistent selections in both the Super Rugby and Test teams are: Joaquin Tuculet (fullback), Ramiro Moyano (wing/fullback), Matias Orlando and Jeronuimo de la Fuente (midfield), Nicolas Sanchez (flyhalf), Leonardo Senatore (No 8), Guido Petti (lock) and hooker Agustin Creevy.
The Jaguares coaches never selected an identical team to the Pumas and they mixed and matched the Pumas squad throughout the Super Rugby season. For example the loose-trio of Senatore, Tomas Lezana and Pablo Matera all played but not consistently in that format of combination.
The props also were rotated throughout the season.
To think the Pumas are the Jaguares in another jersey is inaccurate.
The Pumas have also enjoyed playing the Springboks in recent times. They scored a historic and crushing win in Durban in 2015 and last year were a few minutes away from completing another remarkable win.
The Pumas also beat the Springboks in Argentina in 2016. In the last eight Test matches between the two sides the Boks have only won overall by an average of 5 points.
Pumas captain Agustin Creevy told Sport24 the Pumas viewed the Springboks as among the best three teams in the world but felt that mentally the Pumas were ready to win again in South Africa.
‘Beating the Springboks in South Africa for the first time was really important and mentally it was a turning point for us. South Africa is a great team and we always learn a lot when we play against them,’ Greevy said in the Sport24 interview.
‘We won against South Africa last season because our mentality was excellent. We stayed calm and didn’t do anything crazy but, for me, the Springboks remain one of the top three sides in the world.’
Keo.co.za match prediction: ‘Boks by 15’
Head-to-head: Springboks v Argentina
2016: Argentina 26-24 South Africa, Salta (Rugby Championship)
2016: South Africa 30-23 Argentina, Nelspruit (Rugby Championship)
2015: South Africa 24-13 Argentina, London (RWC bronze final)
2015: Argentina 12-26 South Africa, Buenos Aires (RWC warm-up)
2015: South Africa 25-37 Argentina, Durban (Rugby Championship)
2014: Argentina 31-33 South Africa, Salta (Rugby Championship)
2014: South Africa 13-6 Argentina, Pretoria (Rugby Championship)
2013: Argentina 17-22 South Africa, Mendoza (Rugby Championship)
2013: South Africa 73-13 Argentina, Soweto (Rugby Championship)
2012: Argentina 16-16 South Africa, Mendoza (Rugby Championship)
2012: South Africa 27-6 Argentina, Cape Town (Rugby Championship)
2008: South Africa 63-9 Argentina, Johannesburg
2007: South Africa 37-13 Argentina, Paris (RWC semi-final)
2005: Argentina 23-34 South Africa, Buenos Aires
2004: Argentina 7-39 South Africa, Buenos Aires
2003: South Africa 26-25 Argentina, Port Elizabeth
2002: South Africa 49-29 Argentina, Springs
2000: Argentina 33-37 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1996: Argentina 21-44 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1996: Argentina 15-46 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1994: South Africa 46-26 Argentina, Johannesburg
1994: South Africa 42-22 Argentina, Port Elizabeth
1993: Argentina 23-52 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1993: Argentina 26-29 South Africa, Buenos Aires