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'Pumas making an absolute mockery of the Springboks decision' - Fans turn on world champions following Pumas historic win over All Blacks

By Online Editors
Argentina's players celebrate their victory at the end of the 2020 Tri-Nations rugby match between the New Zealand and Argentina at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on November 14, 2020. (Photo by David Gray / AFP)

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The world champions South Africa surprised many last month when they announced their decision to withdraw from what would’ve been the Rugby Championship. Instead, Argentina, New Zealand and hosts Australia would contest for a Tri Nations title.

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It was revealed that the Springboks wouldn’t travel to Australia due to challenges with COVID-19, with player welfare one of the reasons cited.

Another issue was the lack of game time that players had had, with players only having played a few weeks of Super Rugby Unlocked, the South African domestic competition for this year, at that stage. The national side also hadn’t played together since the World Cup final in November last year.

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Pumas captain Pablo Matera and coach Mario Ledesma reflect on their sides 25-15 win over the All Blacks in Sydney.
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Pumas captain Pablo Matera and coach Mario Ledesma reflect on their sides 25-15 win over the All Blacks in Sydney.

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who was head coach of the Springboks for last year’s World Cup victory in Japan, said that his players would need 400-500 minutes of game time before they’d be ready for test match rugby.

The decision was at least initially labelled a “great call” by South African fans on Twitter, with the Springboks set to take on the British and Irish Lions in South Africa next year.

However the decision has since come under scrutiny with the Pumas, who were in a similar boat to the Springboks, having registered an historic 25-15 win over the All Blacks last Saturday.

All Blacks legend Sir John Kirwan joked about the “mitigating circumstances” that the Argentinians had faced in preparation for the Tri Nations, with COVID-19 having impacted them significantly. In late September, it was reported that more than a dozen players had tested positive for the virus.

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The squad arrived in Australia on 6th October after having quarantined for 14 days.

The Pumas then played two warm-up matches against a Rugby Australia XV, which included non-matchday Wallabies. Pete Samu, Joe Powell and James Ramm all featured, but the visitors won both matches in convincing fashion.

But the dominant performance against the All Blacks last weekend was particularly impressive, and has seen fans on Twitter discuss the Springboks withdrawal just as much as the win itself.

But other fans have been quick to diminish any comparisons between the Pumas and the Springboks, two sides who faced similar yet different challenges.

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The unique Super Rugby Unlocked season does continue this weekend, with the final round of fixtures set to be played. The competition is set to go down to the wire, with the Bulls currently sitting atop of the standings.

As for the Argentinian national side, they’ll face the Wallabies in Newcastle this weekend, in a pivotal Tri Nations clash.

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'Pumas making an absolute mockery of the Springboks decision' - Fans turn on world champions following Pumas historic win over All Blacks

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