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'They are a great team, but…’: Why Los Pumas ‘can beat’ the All Blacks again

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)

The stage is set in Mendoza for what promises to be another exciting instalment of a fiery southern hemisphere rugby rivalry between Los Pumas and the All Blacks.

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Especially over the last few years, this unmissable rivalry has reached new heights. The Argentines have made history with some truly memorable victories.

Los Pumas shocked the rugby world with a stunning win over the All Blacks in 2020, and that match will ripple throughout history as a milestone occasion for South American rugby.

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Argentina had brought an end to a run of almost 30 winless Tests against their southern hemisphere rivals – and they weren’t done there, either.

Just last year, the Pumas upset the All Blacks in Christchurch. It was the All Blacks first-ever loss to Argentina on New Zealand soil.

But Los Pumas want more.

They aren’t close to done or content with what they’ve accomplished.

Ahead of their Rugby Championship opener against the All Blacks in Mendoza, 20-year-old replacement Pedro Rubiolo said Los Pumas “can beat” the New Zealanders again.

“Playing against the All Blacks is always a plus because they are one of the best teams,” Rubiolo told reporters. “I think we can make it an equal match and we’re going to try to win.

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“The truth is that I think they are a great team, but we have been improving year after year and we can beat them again.

“We have to go day by day and game by game,” Rubiolo added.

“We always look at the World Cup, which I would love to go to, but first things first. Saturday s against the All Blacks and we are focused on that.”

With some legendary Argentine rugby stars etching their names into rugby folklore with a couple of incredible wins over the All Blacks over the last few years, another matchday squad of 23 players are hoping to do the same on Saturday.

Argentina have never beaten the All Blacks at home but will be playing with plenty of confidence when they take the field at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas.

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“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.

“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.”

The Rugby Championship clash between Argentina and New Zealand in Mendoza will get underway at 7.10 am (NZST) on Sunday morning.

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