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Will Springboks be asking Pumas for an inside track on TRC rivals?

By Liam Heagney

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It’s crazy to think that it is now a full two years since the Springboks last played the All Blacks, their fiercest rivals, and even longer – 26 months – since they last clashed with the Wallabies, but such has been the disruptive impact of the pandemic on their plans that these rivalries will only be renewed in the coming weeks in Australia when the remainder of the 2021 Rugby Championship is played.   


The Springboks spurned an invitation to take part in last year’s Australian-hosted Rugby Championship, claiming their players were not sufficiently conditioned at that time to participate as they had not played enough rugby for their South African clubs following the pandemic-forced stoppage of the 2020 calendar.  

However, with the Springboks now back up and running with six recent Test matches under its belt on the back of their home-based players playing a sufficient chunk of rugby for their franchise teams, South Africa feel they are ready for the challenge of taking part in this year’s Rugby Championship. 

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Duane Vermeulen on the injury that kept him out of the Springboks versus Lions series
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Duane Vermeulen on the injury that kept him out of the Springboks versus Lions series

With Argentina having taken on both Australia and New Zealand in the revised 2020 Championship, they have more recent experience than the Springboks in playing these teams. 

However, despite the burgeoning recent friendship between the Springboks and the Pumas being strengthened by their shared charter flight from Cape Town to Queensland and the sharing of the same quarantined hotel facility in Australia, Jacques Nienaber isn’t tempted to ask the Pumas for their inside track on the Wallabies and the All Blacks.    

“There haven’t been discussions or even a suggestion that there would be discussions like that,” said Nienaber when quizzed if there would be any sharing of information between the Springboks and the Pumas ahead of the Rugby Championship resumption. “Each team does their own analysis and have their own plan.


“There certainly wasn’t any discussions around that and I don’t think there will be because everybody does their own analysis and you know what you are doing. We analysed last year’s (Rugby Championship) games and they analysed our games in the British and Irish Lions series. That’s that going forward to playing these other Test matches.”


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