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Thu Apr 17 12:18:07 SAST 2014

Boks are better prepared for Pumas, says De Villiers

TEAMtalk Media | 18 August, 2012 07:060 Comments
2012 The Castle Rugby Championship: Springboks training session
Jean de Villiers during the South African national rugby team training session at Westerford High School
Image by: Carl Fourie / Gallo Images

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers believes his team are in better shape ahead of Saturday's clash with Argentina in their Rugby Championship opener at Newlands than they were against England in June.

Despite a 2-0 series victory over England, the Boks will hope for an improved performance from their flatfooted showing in the final Test in Port Elizabeth where they drew 14-14.

South Africa had little time to prepare for that series as coach Heyneke Meyer had only a week to gear up his troops before the first Test in Durban.

De Villiers says the Boks are a more settled side after spending some time together.

"We've been together for two weeks," said the Stormers centre

"I think the preparation was much better than it was before the English series."

De Villiers wasn't prepared to make prediction on what to expect from the visitors but believes they will pose a challenge to the hosts, especially among the forwards.

"They've been waiting for a hell of a long time to be in this competition," he said.

"They'll come out firing and we'll be prepared for anything.

"They're a team that pride themselves on their forward play and they have a flyhalf (Juan Hernandez) that can really dominate and control the game.

"They're a quality side and that's why they've been included in this competition, so I think a lot of people are backing them to truly spring some surprises in some of the games this year."

The Boks have a 100 percent winning record in 13 games against the tourists, while Argentina will be eager to send a clear message that they are no longer the Cinderella team of world rugby as they turn out at Newlands for the first time.

Meyer insisted the two-time World Cup winners would not underestimate the tournament newcomers .

"I think they are a great side and they have proven it," said Meyer on Friday.

"They just beat France in the June Tests, and you don't just beat France unless you are a great side.

"It is great for the competition (the inclusion of Argentina) and just like South African Super Rugby sides, they will get used to the travelling and become better with time.

"It is great to have a new nation in the Rugby Championship."

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