It’s rare to see two sides supposedly of the same class being so far apart, but the Springboks made last week a living hell for the Pumas, as South Africa destroyed Argentina in their Rugby Championship opener, showcasing just how wide the quality gap between the sides is at the moment.
Argentina just have too many players without a team, and other key players missing. The 73-13 result was surprising, but for those looking at the starting XV for Argentina, it wasn’t that surprising that they lost by such a landslide.
Willie Le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Adriaan Strauss, Morne Steyn and Duane Vermeulen had an excellent match, with 8 different players scoring one try, while Steyn was close to perfect with his conversions (8-of-9) and perfect with his penalty kicking at four-of-four.
Argentina are looking back at their 16-16 draw from last year, their only non-loss match since becoming a member of the Southern Hemisphere ‘big boys’ club and hoping that some sort of motivational spark will be created from playing at home, but it’s hard to see it happening. Juan Martin Hernandez is out, and every injury is much more substantial for Argentina, who don’t have the depth to make up for a weakened lineup.
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino will start for him at fullback, while other changes for the match being Horacio Agulla starting on the wing instead of Juan Imhoff, getting benched; Marcos Ayerza starts at loose-head after recovering from injury, while Julio Farias Cabello and Mariano Galarza start in place of Patricio Albacete and Manuel Carizza at the Lock positions.
Prediction – While going back home should give the Argentinians a certain kind of boost, their squad is at the weakest it’s been for a very long time, and South Africa, without a single change from their devastating win from last week, shouldn’t have a lot of problems running all over the Pumas.