Pieter-Steph: Pumas not afraid of doing the dirty work, and to intimidate

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The Springboks remain wary of Argentina's physicality ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship finale in Durban.

The Boks beat the Pumas 36-20 in Buenos Aires last week but had to fend off a ferocious onslaught in the second stanza.

South Africa led 22-6 at half-time, but Argentina fought back to trail only 22-20 before two late Springbok tries sealed the deal.

"They have a dangerous pack that plays to their strengths, and they are not afraid of doing the dirty work and try to intimidate the opposition," flank Pieter-Steph du Toit told reporters in Durban on Wednesday.

"They pride themselves on their set phases and they try to get penalties from it. That said we are in a good place as a team, our confidence is up, and we are in a good position to try to possibly win the competition."

Last weekend's bonus-point win in Buenos Aires put the Boks level on points with New Zealand (14), with the All Blacks only at No 1 because of a superior points difference of 13.

If the All Blacks fail to claim a bonus-point victory in their game against the Wallabies at Eden Park, then a five-point win for the Boks against the Pumas at Kings Park would secure the Rugby Championship.

However, a relatively comfortable win for the All Blacks - who haven't lost to the Wallabies at Eden Park since 1986 - would require South Africa to thump Argentina with a large score.

"We want to win and earn five points from the match," Du Toit added. "We'll know before kick-off exactly what we need to do, and even if earning five points changes (depending on the outcome of the clash between the All Blacks and Australia), we won't change our plan much.

"There are things we need to improve on from last week and we are working hard to do ensure that we are better in those departments this week.

"It's going to be awesome to play in front of a sold-out stadium in Durban, and hopefully we can make our supporters proud."

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

Meanwhile, winger Makazole Mapimpi added that the Argentinean backs posed an equally challenging threat.

"Similarly to their forwards, their backs are physical, and that is something we'll need to try to match in the game," said Mapimpi. "For us, we need to make things personal, and we need to be at our best."

When probed on whether the Boks felt pressure going into the game, the speedster said: "I wouldn't say there is pressure on the team, we are just doing our jobs. There are a lot of things we still have to work on, and we'll do that in this week."

Saturday's clash at Kings Park kicks off at 17:05.


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