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‘We beat them twice and we know how to do it’: Pumas ready for ABs

By Finn Morton
Argentina celebrate after defeating New Zealand during The Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina Pumas at Orangetheory Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

After beating the All Blacks twice in three years, Argentina are full of confidence ahead of their highly anticipated Rugby Championship opener in Mendoza this weekend.

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Los Pumas believe they “know how” to beat the All Blacks.

Argentina shocked the rugby world on neutral ground in 2020 when they defeated the New Zealanders for the first-time ever in Sydney.

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While that famous result will echo throughout time as a landmark moment for both Argentine and South American rugby, the Pumas outdid themselves a couple of years later.

The All Blacks were a shadow of their former selves during a slow start to their international campaign last year.

Defeats to Ireland and South Africa saw the All Blacks slump to an uncharacteristically poor run of form.

But there was hope – or so the New Zealand rugby public thought.

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Back in front of their home fans in Christchurch, the All Blacks were expected to beat Argentina, and get their season back on track by doing so.

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But Los Pumas had another idea.

Argentina held on for an incredible 25-18 win in the south island – their first win over the All Blacks in New Zealand. History was made, but Los Pumas want more.

“We know what it means to play against New Zealand in Argentina and what team they are, but we are focused on us,” replacement Santiago Grondona told reporters on Friday.

“We had a great week in which we prepared very well and we hope that everything will come out on the pitch tomorrow.

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“We trust in our team and the most important thing is that we are united.

“We beat them twice and we know how to do it and it will depend on how we feel tomorrow. Let’s go for another victory.”

While there’s plenty of chatter about this year’s World Cup within the rugby community, both Argentina and New Zealand are taking their seasons one Test at a time.

This rivalry is always played with passion, fury and intent. Both teams are eager to start their 2023 campaigns on a winning note.

The Pumas have never beaten the All Blacks in Argentina, but are clearly ready to rewrite history once again as they prepare to host their southern hemisphere rivals on Saturday (local time).

“Without a doubt, it is the goal we have: to beat the All Blacks in Argentina for the first time in history,” he added.

“The motivation is there and we will see what happens tomorrow.”

Speaking with reporters at Marista Rugby Club in the south of Mendoza after the All Blacks’ captains run on Friday afternoon, Sam Cane said this Test will be a “battle of collisions.”

Cane expects the battle between the forward packs to play a major role on Saturday, and Grondona has predicted a similar challenge.

“I think that rugby matches are always won with the forwards, and the difference will be that we prevail there.

“It will be a tough battle tomorrow.”

Los Pumas will take on the All Blacks in Mendoza at 7.10 am on Sunday morning (New Zealand time).

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1 Comment
J
Jmann 378 days ago

yes - just get an inexperienced ref and have some ABs red carded....

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Shaylen 6 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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