Pumas’ Ayerza looking good as he dominates the scrum

2014-08-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Argentina’s loosehead prop Marcos Ayerza is set to earn his 50th cap against South Africa at Salta on Saturday (9.40 pm SA time) and enter the game on a wave of confidence.

The Pumas may have lost their Rugby Championship first-round clash 13-6 in the heavy rain and hail at Loftus last weekend, but they earned bragging rights at scrum time.

Ayerza, like so many European-based team-mates, often plies his club trade in grim conditions, as he is on the books of English Premiership side Leicester, so the deluge would only have lifted his motivation against Springbok tighthead Jannie du Plessis.

He gave the 55-cap Du Plessis — who has been overplayed this year and seemed to show it — a torrid time at some of the set-pieces, but much the same applied to the rest of the all-Sharks front row, which featured Jannie’s brother Bismarck and Tendai Mtawarira.

Ayerza has other reasons to treasure combat against the Boks — it was against them that he made his Test debut a decade ago in 2004, coming off the bench in Buenos Aires during a 39-7 visiting triumph.

Ayerza is highly regarded in the English Premiership. After the 2012 season, a London newspaper described him as “far and away the outstanding loosehead in the competition”. The prop would also have learnt plenty during the eight years spent at Leicester, from Argentinean-born tighthead cult figure Martin Castrogiovanni, who has earned 105 caps for Italy and now represents Toulon.

The present Pumas tighthead, Ramiro Herrera, is a relatively unsung Argentine-based player who was earning only his third international appearance in Pretoria and a maiden crack in the Championship. So you might have expected better from the established Bok alliance who have played so much together.

The ultimate snub for the Bok tight five, perhaps, was the failure of any of them to crack a Rugby Championship team of the week in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald after the first round last weekend. Instead, the paper named Ayerza and Herrera in their XV ahead of any Bok, Wallaby or All Black props. The South Africans to crack the nod were Duane Vermeulen, Marcell Coetzee, Willie le Roux and Cornal Hendricks.

Perhaps it is a timely juncture for the Bok scrum to raise their game and act as party spoilers.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.