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How Los Pumas plan on replicating upset win over the All Blacks

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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Argentina’s Pumas have spent two weeks in quarantine reflecting on recent losses to South Africa and focusing on discipline ahead of Sunday’s Rugby Championship test against the All Blacks.


The Pumas lost to the Springboks 32-12 and 29-10 in Rugby Championship tests in South Africa before flying to Australia where they have had to isolate for 14 days before continuing the tournament.

Sunday’s match will be the first of a doubleheader on the Gold Coast, with the Wallabies hosting World Cup champions South Africa in the second game.

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie speaks to media ahead of Springboks clash
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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie speaks to media ahead of Springboks clash

In total, 30 of the 61 points Argentina conceded against South Africa came from penalties – five in each match – and captain Julian Montoya believes better discipline will be vital against the All Blacks, who are well-equipped to punish lapses.

“We have been locked up for two weeks preparing for the game and being very self-critical,” Montoya said. “We always think about what we can improve and how we can be better.

“New Zealand, South Africa and Australia take you to the limit and that is great. But indiscipline is a matter of 100 percent concentration. We have to adjust that which was the biggest deficit in the last two games and it is difficult to compete with so much indiscipline.”

The Pumas have a strong focus on fundamentals – strong set pieces, rigid defence, good exits and accurate tactical kicking.


Through those means they seek to control the pace of the game, a key factor against the All Blacks who will always attempt to lift the tempo and play fluidly, with minimal stoppages.

Pumas head coach Mario Ledesma agrees with Montoya that controlling the pace of the game will be crucial.

“We have to play the game we want to play: New Zealand invites you to play a rhythm, a tempo that sometimes they alone can play,” Ledesma said.

The Pumas face an All Blacks team atop the table after big back-to-back wins over Australia, in which they scored 14 tries.


All Blacks coach Ian Foster has made six changes to his lineup for Sunday’s match but they don’t notably weaken the All Blacks.

Foster has been able to replace wingers Rieko Ioane and Will Jordan with Sevu Reece and George Bridge, without losing any pace or power in the back three.

“We have looked at it holistically,” he said. “Sevu was one of our form backs, he played well in (July) and the early (Bledisloe Cup tests). We gave him a rest last week and he’ll be ready to go. We are also seeing signs that George is back into the form we know, so it’s important he gets an opportunity to stake his claim.”


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