National team will focus on their own job and not on the Argentinians
SA flanker Jaco Kriel warns that Pumas are dangerous at home
But perhaps there are three teams as the Boks prepare to take on the Pumas in Salta on Saturday (9.40pm kick-off) – a totally different beast.
An extra gear
The Jaguares, who make up the entire Argentina squad baring Brumbies scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli, are a totally different team to the one that dons the famous sky blue and white hoops.
Pride for Argentina seems to instantly give the national side, made of the same players as their Super Rugby team, an extra gear. But, playing at home, the Pumas seem to find a whole new gearbox, and Jaco Kriel knows this better than most.
“We have to start working again,” a determined Kriel said. “Argentinians in their own home country are a different monster.
“We really are starting to work hard this week, and focusing on the weekend ahead, not thinking about the travel too much.”
A lot is being made about the Boks’ schedule to Argentina, especially with the original plan being for the team to have left yesterday; however, Kriel adds that the long-haul flight and associated jet lag, is far easier to deal with heading to South America, than it is returning to South Africa.
“If you go there, you feel quite fresh,” the flank explained. “It is coming back where it becomes difficult, getting back into your sleep patterns again. You feel quite tired and drained.”
Kriel is wary of the atmosphere, that he knows will reach fever pitch at the hostile Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in Salta.
Passionate fans, with the Boks far from home, bracing for an Argentine backlash, and things could get a lot tougher than they did for South Africa last Saturday.
“The Argentinians are a proud nation, and they won’t take this weekend lightly.” Kriel added.
“Going back home, in front of their fans, they will be very physical and will want to prove a point. All we can do is stick to what we do and focus on our own job, and not focus on them.”