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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter


Stick calls for total focus from Boks in Test against Pumas

"They beat the All Blacks away from home and now they beat Australia away from home."


Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has warned that they need to be at their best when they take on Argentina in their Rugby Championship encounter at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Los Pumas have demonstrated in recent years that they are capable of winning away from home against tier-one nations, with wins recorded against the All Blacks, England, and Wallabies among others.

Stick says that the Boks can’t afford to take Argentina lightly because of their track record away from home.

‘Can lose to anyone’

“It would be stupid to write them off,” said Stick when speaking to the media during the captain’s press conference on Friday.

“Like I always say when it comes to the top eight ranked teams in the world, if a team is not at their best on the day they can lose to anyone. And Argentina have proven that many times. They beat the All Blacks away from home and now they beat Australia away from home.

“So you can never write them off, especially where they are at the moment. They are at a good space, they just had a good win against Australia.”

‘They will punish you’

Much has been made about the Boks’ start in their loss to the All Blacks in Auckland two weeks ago, when the visitors fell 17-0 behind early on and on Saturday at Ellis Park a lot of attention will be given to their start. Stick says Los Pumas have it in them to punish a slow start and can play for 80 minutes.

“As you saw with us, for 20 minutes when we were not in the game against the All Blacks, they managed to put 17 points on us, so no doubt Argentina have got the potential … if you’re not at your best they will punish you.

“The most important thing is that we have to give them respect because those guys will play for 80 minutes, that’s one thing I enjoy about Argentina. You can see they play from the heart; they have got similar things to us. With the experience that’s in that team and some of the X-factor that’s in the backs, we’ll have to be at our best to make sure we win the game,” said Stick.

To win the Rugby Championship, the Springboks need a bonus point victory and hope Australia beat New Zealand convincingly when they meet on Saturday morning at the MCG.