Pumas want to breathe easy at the end
ARGENTINA will try to pace themselves looking to finish with more stamina in their quest for a first win over the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship Test at Velez Sarsfield today.
Los Pumas took more points off New Zealand than in any previous clash when they scored 22 and were equal to their opponents for nearly three quarters of their previous clash in Hamilton three weeks ago.
They were let down, however, by their failure to stay the pace for 80 minutes and lost 57-22, but hope to have learned some lessons as they look to end a run of 22 losses and a draw against the Kiwis.
“In the 60th minute I couldn’t catch my breath anymore,” loose forward Javier Ortega Desio said this week. “We’ve got to be intelligent and not exhaust ourselves so much. “In the heat of the match, playing well, going through phases, (doing) offloads from the ground, sometimes you overdo things and that’s not smart. Those are the bad decisions we’re making.” The players are also aware that in their two Tests on the road in Australasia, including a 36-20 loss to Australia, Argentina’s usually strong defence was poor, shipping 13 tries. Meanwhile, All Black coach Steve Hansen, whose team beat the Springboks 41-13 in Christchurch to clinch the title two weeks ago, is expecting his team to face the usual passionate support Los Pumas enjoy at home. Hansen is looking to consolidate depth in his squad while maint aining their winning momen- tum and made four changes to the starting XV like Liam Squire,
and nine in total. “Argentina are a very good team,” Hansen said. “They put us under real pressure at times in Hamilton and we’ve worked really hard this week to prepare for what we expect to be coming.”
It will be the teams’ seventh clash in the Argentine capital, which is where Los Pumas have come closest to beating the All Blacks, notably a 21-21 draw in 1985. The Kiwis snatched victory at the River Plate stadium to win 24-20 in 2001, and won 25-19 in their last meeting at Velez in 2006.
“I think that little by little the gaps are shortening,” said wing Santiago Cordero, who scored Argentina’s early try in Hamilton. “We’d never beaten South Africa and we did it twice in a year... I fear the same could happen as in the last matches, playing 60 minutes and then dropping our arms. I want that to end.” – Reuters