Red alert for Pu­mas as SA fired up for South Amer­i­can vic­tory

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE -

SOUTH Africa will wear red for the first time in their 126-year ex­is­tence when they play in Ar­gentina to­day, hop­ing to ex­tend an en­cour­ag­ing four-vic­tory start to the sea­son. The change from the tra­di­tional green and gold or sec­ond-choice white is to cel­e­brate 25 years of rugby unity in a coun­try where the sport was run on racial lines dur­ing apartheid.

All the na­tional flag colours – black, blue, green, red, white and yel­low – will have been used ei­ther in play­ing or train­ing kit af­ter the kick-off in north­west­ern city Salta.

Spring­bok sup­port­ers hope it will be a red-let­ter day for a team that has bat­tled in previous Rugby Cham­pi­onship vis­its to South Amer­ica.

South Africa have won twice, drawn once and lost once, with the widest vic­tory mar­gin for the twice for­mer world cham­pi­ons a mere five points.

Most of these strug­gles have come af­ter con­vinc­ing home vic­to­ries, sim­i­lar to the 37-15 suc­cess achieved by the Spring­boks over the Pu­mas in Port El­iz­a­beth last Satur­day.

Pow­er­ful Coe­nie Oosthuizen-in­spired scrum­ming laid the foun­da­tions for a con­vinc­ing vic­tory fol­low­ing a 3-0 home test se­ries white­wash of be­low-par France.

The four vic­to­ries came af­ter a hor­ror de­but sea­son for coach Al­lis­ter Coetzee in which his team lost a cal­en­dar-year record eight tests of 12.

“The team must ban­ish from their minds the idea that we are al­ways go­ing to strug­gle in Ar­gentina,” lock Eben Etze­beth, stand­ing in as skip­per for in­jured War­ren White­ley, stressed.

“We need to pre­pare well, get our mind­set right and be­lieve we can go there and win.”

The 20 000-ca­pac­ity Es­ta­dio Padre Ernesto Martearena, with its small pitch and pas­sion­ate sup­port­ers, has not been a happy hunt­ing ground for the Spring­boks,

They snatched a 33-31 vic­tory in 2014 and lost away to Ar­gentina for the first time last year, fail­ing 26-24, with San­ti­ago Gon­za­lez Igle­sias slot­ting the de­ci­sive late penalty.

In an ef­fort to avoid a morale-de­flat­ing loss ahead of po­ten­tially much tougher matches in Aus­tralia and New Zealand, Coetzee changed his pre­match plan from last year.

In­stead of fly­ing to Ar­gentina at the be­gin­ning of the week, they con­tin­ued train­ing in South Africa and arrived in Salta less than two days be­fore the match.

“As with previous tests this year, we must show pa­tience, hunger and a de­sire to ex­e­cute our game plan,” Coetzee said.

He be­lieves in con­ti­nu­ity and the only change to the start­ing line-up from last week­end was in­jury en­forced, with scrumhalf Fran­cois Hougaard re­plac­ing Ross Cronje. Rudy Paige takes the place of Hougaard in an oth­er­wise un­changed bench.

Ar­gentina coach Daniel Hour­cade made six changes to the team that started in South Africa, although two are in­jury-re­lated.

“We have to se­cure the ball and hold on to it,” Hour­cade said. “We can­not spend most of the match de­fend­ing, as we did in South Africa.” Teams (15-1) Ar­gentina: Joaquin Tu­culet; Ramiro Moy­ano, Ma­tias Or­lando, Jeron­imo de la Fuente, Emil­iano Bof­felli; Juan Martin Her­nan­dez, To­mas Cubelli; Juan Martin Leguiza­mon, To­mas Lezana, Pablo Mat­era; To­mas La­vanini, Ma­tias Ale­manno; Ramiro Her­rera, Agustin Creevy (capt), Lu­cas Noguera. Re­place­ments: Ju­lian Mon­toya, San­ti­ago Gar­cia Botta, En­rique Pieretto, Mar­cos Kre­mer, Javier Ortega De­sio, Martin Lan­dajo, Ni­co­las Sanchez, Ma­tias Moroni. South Africa: An­dries Coetzee; Ray­mond Rhule, Jesse Kriel, Jan Ser­fontein, Court­nall Skosan; El­ton Jan­tjies, Fran­cois Hougaard; Uzair Cassiem, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi; Franco Mostert, Eben Etze­beth (capt); Coe­nie Oosthuizen, Mal­colm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira. Re­place­ments: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kit­shoff, Trevor Nyakane, Pi­eter-Steph du Toit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Rudy Paige, Cur­win Bosch, Damian de Al­lende. Ref­eree: Pas­cal Gauzere (FRA). – AFP


CON­TI­NU­ITY IN LINEUP: Scrumhalf Fran­cois Hougaard takes the place of in­jured Ross Cronje in an oth­er­wise un­changed start­ing lineup from last week as the Boks face Ar­gentina in South Amer­ica

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