The Rugby Championship

The Rugby Championship: Strauss ready for 'onslaught' from unchanged Pumas

South Africa captain Adriaan Strauss is expecting a "big onslaught" from Argentina in their Rugby Championship clash at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in Salta on Saturday.

Argentina were in a commanding position in the second half of their tournament opener against the Springboks last weekend, taking a 10-point lead into the final 10 minutes.

However, tries from Johan Goosen and Warren Whiteley, who crossed in the 79th minute, gave South Africa a 30-23 win at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, with the Pumas having to settle for a losing bonus point.

Having seen victory snatched away from them at the death, Strauss is anticipating a fierce performance from Argentina on home soil.

"We've had a great week in Buenos Aires and travelling here went well. We also trained well but we know very well that we simply have to improve and fix the mistakes we made in Nelspruit last weekend," said Strauss.

"The Argentinians showed last weekend, but also last year at the World Cup, where they reached the semi-finals, that they are a rugby force and they demand respect.

"They are a very passionate nation, especially at home, and we're expecting a big onslaught, but at the same time we would like to lift our own standards. We are certainly looking forward to a great Test."

Springboks coach Allister Coetzee has made just one change to his starting XV with Vincent Koch replacing injured prop Julian Redelinghuys.

Daniel Hourcade's Argentina side, meanwhile, are unchanged and Juan Manuel Leguizamon will earn his 70th Test cap.

The Pumas' recent exploits have raised expectations in the team, with last weekend's defeat still stinging Martin Landajo.

For the scrum-half, Argentina and South Africa are equal in ability and his team-mates will be looking to hit back by beating the Springboks on home soil for the first time in 12 attempts.

"Before, a win was something heroic, an exception. But now the team feels on an equal footing with South Africa," Landajo said, as quoted by La Nacion.

"The defeat on Saturday hurt us the most because, even a few years ago, losing by a little bit was good and we were more or less happy, But today it is not like that; today we want to win.

"Now we are greater protagonists, we dominate. The team feels it."

If they are to secure a positive result, the Pumas will need to put in a better display than they did in their previous home Test – a 27-0 defeat to France in Tucuman in June.


Key Opta stats:
- Argentina have won two of their four games at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena (L2), however both defeats have come in their most recent two games there including a 31-33 defeat against the Springboks in 2014.
- Bryan Habana has played 13 games against the Pumas, scoring seven tries in the process, more than any other South African player in both categories.
- Argentina have lost their last two games, they've not lost three games in a row since 2014 when they lost eight on the trot.
- South Africa need only two more for their 100th try scored against Argentina, against only three other nations (Australia, New Zealand, Wales) have they managed to hit triple-digits.
- Santiago Cordero added a seventh try to his Test tally in the opening round of the tournament; every one of his Test tries has been scored outside of Argentina.