Johannesburg - Springbok No 8 Warren Whiteley expects a more targeted approach of the breakdown by Argentina in their Rugby Championship return match in Mendoza on Saturday, hoping to disrupt the Springbok pack from providing quality ball to their dangerous backs.
Los Pumas forwards attempted to flood the breakdown early and succeeded in part in the first half in slowing down Springbok ball during their 34-21 loss in Durban last weekend, and while the Bok forwards had their work cut out in protecting their own ball, they believe they will see a greater focus on the breakdown this weekend where it will be much tougher to beat the home side, according to supersport.com website.
“We have some great guys on the ball and all over the park and they were particularly good this weekend. Look they might send an extra guy to that breakdown and try to be more accurate and more physical there,” Whiteley said on arrival in Buenos Aires on Tuesday night.
“We just have to make good decisions at the breakdown and if the contest is lost we need to get out of there because it is dangerous and wasting numbers there and then we are vulnerable out wide. I think they will definitely improve in that aspect of the game.”
Whiteley added that the intensity of the game was higher than he expected and he expected it to be raised even more this weekend.
“There was a lot of intensity within that game. The Pumas capitalised well on turnover ball and scored some opportunistic tries, especially in that first half and put us under pressure. We had a good period of play early in the second half and got back into the game and I think the guys did incredibly well to do that and also the intensity we played with.
“We managed to consistently keep that lead right until the end of the game. But ja, it was a physical game, a really physical game, tough contest. The Pumas were good in a lot of areas in the game. But yeah I’m proud of the boys with the intensity we played at and how we got back into the match.
“This weekend we know in Argentina, it is tough to play here, this is a passionate Argentinean team. We know they play for their supporters and their loved ones. They are passionate and Argentinean people are passionate people, especially when they play at home.
“They bring a lot of intensity and it is definitely a different kettle of fish playing in Argentina as opposed to playing in South Africa. It is definitely going to be a tough game this weekend. We just came from our review now so we just want to focus on little areas that we picked up and want to improve on here and there. Come Saturday we need to bring that intensity and even more intensity here.”
While the Argentineans will be dangerous again, Whiteley said it was too early to tell if they were better under new coach Mario Ledesma.
“It is difficult to tell, such early stages in the competition and they have only played one game but it was a tough game in Durban and we really had to fight for the result and we expect nothing less this weekend,” he added.
“That is what Argentina did within the game, they scored some great opportunistic tries and every opportunity they get they will finish. We saw that with the one ball they picked up on the edge and with some good interpassing Matera scored and obviously the intercept pass as well. They are a great side and we know we can’t give them those type of opportunities because they will capitalise on each and every one. That is the type of side they are, they are never going to give up. Even within this game where we did have a lot of opportunities and we did dominate, they were always in the game and that is what we expect from the Argentineans and even more so here at home.”
The game will be shown live at 21:10pm on Supersport on Saturday night.