Johannesburg – Spending a fortnight in Buenos Aires, one of the world’s great cities, sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unless you have to deal with the fervent Pumas rugby team. The Springboks have now turned their attention to the task at hand after spending a few days soaking up the warm Latino hospitality.
The Boks have been enjoying the sights in the sophisticated Argentine city since they thumped the Wallabies in Sydney, according to No. 8 Jasper Wiese, who spoke to the media from there.
Instead of returning home for their bye week, the Boks flew to Argentina via Auckland along with the Pumas, who had just been outscored 50–50 by the All Blacks. After a few days off to enjoy the world-class steaks Argentina is known for, the Boks were back on the practice field in preparation for next week’s penultimate Rugby Championship match.
“It felt great to break the drought in Australia with that win and the guys have taken a lot of confidence from it, but the decision by management to get us here as soon as possible was made to keep us in the mindset of still having a major job to do,” Wiese said.
“It is warmer than Australia, the city is very interesting and entertaining, but everybody knows what we are here for,” he added.
The Rugby Championship could not be tighter — New Zealand has 10 points and the other three countries have nine — with two rounds to go. The Wallabies and All Blacks play each other home and away and it is the same for the Boks and the Pumas, with the competition finishing at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on September 24.
“All of the teams will be playing for a bonus point at this stage and not just the win,” Wiese admitted. “We are certainly keeping in mind that we have a shot to win the Championship, and each team will tell you the same thing, so bonus points are very important.
“But first we must do our best and make our country proud, and if we do that and play to our potential, then the bonus point will look after itself.”
The Pumas will certainly be licking their wounds after getting a big smack in Hamilton after having surprised the All Blacks the week before in Christchurch, and they are now going to be on the same home ground where they beat the Wallabies by a record score.
“The Pumas are so tough on their home ground,” Wise admitted. “When you play abroad you have to deal with the home ground advantage but in Argentina, it seems to be even tougher. This is a very proud country and their players feed off their crowd and they never go away.
“Argentina are a passionate team and they have grown into a force to be reckoned with wherever they play,” Wiese continued.
“They proved this with their comprehensive 48-17 home win against Australia. They also beat New Zealand 25-18 away from home, so we are under no illusions about the challenge ahead.”