Argentina dreaming of first Rugby Champs title

Ahead of Saturday’s clash with South Africa in Buenos Aires, Argentina coach Michael Cheika is dreaming of winning the Rugby Championship.

The Pumas began this week at the bottom of the table but only one point off the leaders New Zealand, who thrashed them 53-3 in their previous outing. It’s a mark of how close this season’s championship has been.

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After New Zealand edged Australia in Melbourne on Thursday, the Pumas are now five points behind the All Blacks, but all four sides can still win the competition.

“It is up to us to keep The Rugby Championship open and alive,” said Australian Cheika after making seven changes to his team.

Two weeks ago, Argentina suffered their heaviest ever Rugby Championship defeat to the All Blacks, a week after recording their first victory in New Zealand.

MORE: Cheika takes axe to Argentina team to face Boks

Cheika insisted there will be no hangover from their hiding.

“When we got back to work at the start of the week, everyone had a good attitude, very positive and have concentrated on the strategy for the game,” he said.

“It will be important to impose our way of playing. South Africa are a lot different to play against than Australia and New Zealand. It will be a different dynamic.”

Argentina have only won three of their 32 matches against the Boks, the last of those coming in 2018.

They have had four successive defeats since.

But in this tournament they have already recorded their record victory over Australia (48-17) and their first win away to New Zealand (24-18) so confidence is high.

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© Agence France-Presse

Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

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