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Kolisi: Pumas more physical than the British & Irish Lions

By Ian Cameron
Siya Kolisi /PA

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Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi has claimed that Argentina were a more physical side to play against than the British & Irish Lions.


The Boks bagged a 32-12 bonus-point victory over Los Pumas on their return to the Rugby Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, the first of two Tests against the South Americans. While it was a comfortable if at times scrappy win for the Boks, according to Kolisi, it was a more physical challenge than the much higher profile series win over the Lions.

Speaking after the victory, Kolisi said: “This challenge was different to what we faced against the Lions.

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“It was a little bit more physical, Argentina give you challenges at the breakdown and are street-smart in general play. It was all about who could execute better.

“But we have been working hard as a squad and the guys who came in gave everything.”

The Puma’s physicality is renowned of course in world rugby, a point not lost on head coach Jacques Nienaber, who described them as  ‘very physical’ and a ‘tough nut to crack’.

Yet Kolisi’s observation won’t have gone unnoticed. Many had pointed out if nothing else the at times turgid Lions’ series at least had huge physicality but now – according to the flanker – it didn’t even reach the heights in this department.


And what’s more, the Springboks will face stiffer challenges next, not least the prospect of playing New Zealand at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin in a few weeks’ time.

All Blacks great Justin Marshall has surmised that the world No.1s will face a ‘step up’ from the Lions tour.

“…they won’t be able come here with complacency because the first test against the All Blacks in Dunedin will be brutal,” Marshall wrote in a recent column for “They’ll think that Lions series was hard, but respectfully, I think there will be step up under the roof in Dunedin and it gives me goosebumps thinking about it.


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