Pumas errors come from desperation for wins against top rivals Springboks
Argentina’s growing desperation for a win against Tier One opposition is clouding their vision and led to the indiscipline that marred Saturday’s performance against South Africa, their players and coach said.
“We weren’t patient, we didn’t have control when we should have,” captain Agustin Creevy said after the Springboks’ 41-23 victory in Salta.
South Africa notched up their first away win of the season, beating a Pumas side who played the last quarter a man short after lock Tomas Lavanini’s red card.
“It’s very hard to play with 14 players for almost half a match of this kind,” said Creevy, adding the sin binning earlier in the afternoon of Lavanini, for his first yellow card, and Juan Manuel Leguizamon.
“We’ll be talking with Lavanini... Of course indiscipline is worrying,” coach Daniel Hourcade said after the lock knocked on to prevent a certain South Africa try for his second yellow.
It was a fourth red for a Pumas player after two in the early 1990s during another spell of meagre results and one last year for young prop Enrique Pieretto.
Argentina have lost 13 and won five tests since they reached the 2015 World Cup semi-finals but only home wins against France and the Springboks in Salta a year ago were against Tier One nations.
Determined to repeat that Salta victory on Saturday, the Pumas made hurried decisions that cost them points, such as being on the verge of a try only to lose the ball and suffer
Siya Kolisi’s second try on the break.
“With the ball (in hand) the spaces open up; when we have it we know how to generate danger but for that to happen we mustn’t lose it in attack and today we did lose it,” wing Emiliano Boffelli said.
“To play against these teams, you can’t lose the ball or commit penalties... That’s probably the difference between the Pumas and Springboks.” Hourcade’s long-term objective is the 2019 World Cup in Japan though he will need to be given a new contract at the end of this year to get there and Argentina may need to revise their decision not to call up Europe-based players for the Pumas.
Former South Africa captain Victor Matfield identified a key problem, a small base in which Argentina’s few professionals have to double up as Jaguares in Super Rugby and Pumas.
“To play week in week out in Super Rugby must wear them down... You need to develop a base so that players like Creevy don’t have to play every week and are fresh when the Rugby Championship comes around,” he told the Argentine newspaper La Nacion.