Lood v Lavanini: Bok-baby faced assassin respects Pumas' physical yellow-card magnet

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  • Springbok lock Lood de Jager says his Argentine counterpart Tomas Lavanini is a passionate and physical player despite his yellow-card propensity.
  • Lavanini is a yellow-card magnet, but an important player for the Argentine side ahead of Saturday's Test against the Springboks.
  • De Jager adds there's still room for improvement as they prepare for the 2023 World Cup.

In Durban

Argentina lock Tomas Lavanini has built himself a neat reputation of being a walking yellow card, but his Bok adversary Lood de Jager put this down to the passion he displays for his country.

Lavanini being yellow carded is as certain as death and taxes, meaning Los Pumas generally have to plan for the 10 minutes without him on the field.

They can ill-afford to have him carded should he play when they face the Springboks in their critical Rugby Championship clash at Kings Park on Saturday.

De Jager, one of the more disciplined locks going around in world rugby, said Lavanini's physicality was important for the Pumas' cause, and remains an excellent player despite his disciplinary issues.

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"He's a very physical player and I think he's one of the most physical locks in the world," De Jager said.

"He puts everything on the line for his country and at times, he does get it wrong. As players, there's a certain level of respect we have for each other.

"He's played more than 70 Tests for his country, and you have to be good to play that amount of Tests.

"He brings a lot to their pack."

De Jager has generally been a quiet achiever for the Boks, but has stood out in a pack of serious excellence this season.

Springbok team

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse

De Jager contributed well to the Boks' 36-20 win against the Pumas in Buenos Aires last week, but he also felt they could have done better with their 22-6 half-time advantage.

De Jager admitted that no team was perfect and their mission was to get better with each game to iron out issues before their World Cup defence in France next year.

ALSO READ | Try-scoring ace Makazole Mapimpi happy to see others finishing off chances

"No rugby team has ever played the perfect game. We certainly had a good first half, but there are a lot of things we can improve on," De Jager said.

"There are small details that we strive to get better at each week, especially when we're looking at the bigger picture of the World Cup.

"We want to be a well-rounded team by the time we go to the World Cup, so there are things we'd like to improve on."

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