The respective No 8s will have key roles to play in yet another bruising breakdown scrap between Argentina and South Africa, writes JON CARDINELLI.
Last week's match in Pretoria was a mess, and the weather is only partially to blame. It was the type of game which suited Argentina, who traditionally go out of their way to spoil at the breakdown.
Pablo Matera, Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, and Juan Manuel Leguizamón thrive in this type of contest. Lobbe was an influential player in the scrappy game at Loftus this past week, while Matera and Leguizamón were the heroes in the ill-tempered fracas in Mendoza last year.
The Boks will field a more balanced back row this week. The inclusion of a specialist blindside flanker should alleviate the pressure on No 8 Duane Vermeulen, who was the only specialist ball-carrier/lineout option in the back row last week.
That said, Vermeulen should still have a big impact in Salta. Expect him to make some telling contributions at the breakdowns, and at the collisions, where his brutal brand of defence should unsettle the Pumas.
Photos: Barry Aldworth/Steve Haag/BackpagePix/Gallo images
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Neither the Wallabies nor the All Blacks deserved to lose in Sydney, but neither deserved to win, writes MARK KEOHANE.
The result in Sydney was more important than the one in Pretoria in the context of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship title prospects, writes JON CARDINELLI.