RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP-header
Jon Cardinelli

Lobbe relishing breakdown battle


Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe during last year's Rugby Championship Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe during last year's Rugby Championship

Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe believes that the Pumas will demand the very best of the Springboks at the breakdown this Saturday. JON CARDINELLI in Pretoria, reports.

While Argentina have never beaten South Africa in a Test match, they have won a few minor battles in the trenches. In 2012 in Mendoza, they took the fight to the Boks at the tackle point and secured a monumental 16-16 draw. They came short at the same venue in 2013, but few would argue that on that occasion the Boks were a distant second to the Pumas in the physical stakes.

The chances of Argentina making history this Saturday at Loftus Versfeld are slim. What they can do is stifle and frustrate the South Africans, and prevent the Boks from scoring four tries and ultimately five log points.

There’s a lot of pride on the line, especially for a player of Lobbe’s experience. The Argentina and Toulon No 7 is respected around the globe, and the Boks have already made mention of his special abilities in the buildup to Saturday’s match.

Lobbe, however, is not about to let the praise go to his head. He told SARugbymag.co.za that the Pumas have come to Pretoria to make a statement, and that nothing would please them more than a victory over the Boks at the collisions and breakdowns.

Much has been made about their spoiling tactics. It’s evident that Lobbe doesn’t believe the word ‘spoiling’ should be viewed negatively. On the contrary, he feels that a rabid contest is absolutely necessary.

‘We have to stop them. At the rucks, at the collisions, everywhere. We have to stop them however we can,’ he told this website. ‘It’s always a big contest between these two countries.  You have to slow them down, you can’t allow them to build up any momentum.

‘I understand the mentality of these players, because there are a lot of South Africans at Toulon. Juan Smith, Bakkies Botha, Craig Burden, Joe van Niekerk, Bryan Habana… it doesn’t matter who the player is, the mantra is always the same. It’s a case of “I am going to physically dominate you” We have to meet that physicality.’

Bok forwards coach Johann van Graan said on Monday that the South Africans are expecting a fierce challenge, especially at the breakdown. The Pumas have not beaten any of the big southern hemisphere teams since the Rugby Championship’s inception, and yet, as Van Graan pointed out, the Pumas boast the best turnover stats of any other team.

They relish a scrappy contest, and will take pride in denying the Boks momentum this Saturday.

‘We will be aiming to tackle them low, and then compete, compete, compete,’ confirmed Lobbe. ‘We need to bring absolutely everything we have into this game, physically and mentally. If the mentality is wrong, well you’ve seen what this Bok team can do.

‘We remember what happened in Johannesburg last year [the Boks won 73-13], and we also remember what happened in Mendoza. Both games are worth remembering, as there were different lessons to take. The bottom line is you can’t lose focus for a minute, because the Boks can make you pay.’

Duel of the week: Lobbe vs Louw

Smith targets World Cup swansong

Meyer: Handré a leader of men

Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

sar poll

Who will win the 2014 Rugby Championship?

Results
0 Comments
latest-articles
Oupa Mohoje at Springbok training

Mohoje must be handled with care

Starting Oupa Mohoje against Australia may do the player more harm than good, writes JON CARDINELLI.

Tendai Mtawarira is currently the only ethnic black African who commands a starting place

Quota demands are unrealistic

The government should be investing in the development of black players rather than making quota demands that South African rugby sides cannot possibly meet, writes JON CARDINELLI.

Richie McCaw scored the All Blacks' only try

All Blacks played big points better

The All Blacks deserve credit for their win against the Springboks in Wellington, writes MARK KEOHANE in Business Day newspaper.

You may also like
0 Comments
Get our daily email update. Subscribe to the SA Rugby magazine newsletter: