Rugby 4 Nations: SA vs ARG - 16 August 2014 - Pretoria: PREVIEW
These two teams competing this weekend in their opening fixture in the Rugby Championship could not be at more opposite levels in terms of preparation, experience and morale. The Argentinian coach has gone for mostly local club players and has decided not to select a large contingent of players that are plying their trade in Europe. This will not help the Argentinian cause at all as the game in Argentina is only semi-professional in terms of coaching and compensation and a lot of the players still need to have day jobs. The Argentinian coach is probably looking to get some form of consistency in the team as a whole leading up to next years’s Rugby World Cup and does not want any interruptions due to certain players not being available due to European commitments.
I feel however this is too risky. Argentina are already playing catch up with the other three teams in the competition and therefore they need to be at full tilt at all times. They are going to rely heavily on the likes of Lobbe, Hernandez and Bosch but even with them at their best it will not be sufficient to give the Springboks a scare.
The Springboks on the other hand look a very settled and very strong unit. There is a great mixture of youth and experience in the team and they will look to learn from the hard lessons they have learned in the last two years to get an even bigger advantage over the Argentinians early on. Heyneke Meyer has been criticized that he wants to play too structured and does not give creative players the opportunity to play to their strengths and to think on the field. It does not help however that a coach allows this at national level but it is not already their thinking at provincial level. A whole culture change needs to happen first before this can be effective. Therefore, a structured game plan, if performed effectively and as the coach intends can be very effective.
The Springboks will once again rely on their forwards to dominate up front early to get front-foot ball followed be frequent in your face runs by Mr Alberts, Vermuelen and De Allende to create even further go forward ball. I do not expect too many aerial ping pong as the Springboks will be able to secure their positon without too much trouble.
It will be a nervous and careful start, the Argentians might get in the first try unexpectantly, but once they get into gear and their outside backs get into their groove the Boks will notch up around 40 points. Final score 40 -10.