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Thu Apr 24 03:09:19 SAST 2014

Pumas impressed by Bok intensity

TEAMtalk Media | 20 August, 2012 13:400 Comments
South Africa's Zane Kirchner (15) and Argentina's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (C) contest a high kick during their Rugby Championship match in Cape Town, August 18, 2012
Image by: Mike Hutchings / REUTERS

Pumas captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe says his team will have to learn to cope with the intensity with which the southern hemisphere nations play the game in order to compete in the Rugby Championship.

Argentina were a step behind the Springboks in the 27-6 loss in their opening game in Cape Town on Saturday but the visitors' skipper believes his team are not far away from bridging the gap.

The Pumas employed a similar game-plan to their hosts but were made to pay for their errors caused by the pressure applied by South Africa.

"It was very intense, very, very intense. We made a good first step. We realise how good the South African defence is, how much pressure they put you under," said the Pumas skipper.

"We can take a lot of positives from this game. We can look ourselves in the eye because everyone gave 100 percent.

"We're very proud to be in this tournament. It's the first, second and third strongest teams in the world, so we're going to work hard and do everything we can to try to improve.

"We have five more games of good rugby and I think if we use them and keep on giving everything as we did, we're going to improve and that's our main goal.

"[Next week] I don't think it will be a very different game from the one we just had. Again we will try to take the initiative and be positive."

The Boks can expected a raucous welcome from the crowd in Mendoza next week and are sure to face a tougher test.

"I spoke to some of [the Springboks] after the game and they know how tough it is to play in Argentina," said Lobbe.

"People are very excited back home. It's our first opportunity to have a tournament every year and that is something we've been looking for for a long time. We're going to be playing against the top three every weekend, so people are very excited and we're going to try to keep them believing in us.

"I think if we keep on giving everything on the field and try to be positive, as we tried to be today against a really good team, people are going to keep on backing us.

"I'm quite sure people are going to go crazy in Mendoza next week, and we're going to try to give everything on the pitch and give them a good game of rugby."

Argentina head coach Santiago Phelan was positive about his team's prospects for improvement.

"The Springboks are a very opportunistic team," he said.

"They apply a lot of pressure and are very good at taking their opportunities. Today we made a lot of mistakes and the South African points came mostly from our errors.

"We are happy, not about the performance of our players, because we know that we have to improve a lot of things, but with the attitude, and when players give 100 percent as they have, it is pretty important for us.

"We will try to improve next week to keep on growing in our game and playing against the South African team [next week] is the best way."

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