August 21, 2018 / 6:56 PM / 3 months ago

Rugby-Forward battle key to Puma-Bok clash, says Whiteley

Aug 21 (Reuters) - South Africa number eight Warren Whiteley believes the forward battle will be key when the Springboks meet Argentina in the Rugby Championship in Mendoza on Saturday.

South Africa beat the Pumas 34-21 in Durban last Saturday, outscoring them by six tries to three and earning a bonus point on the opening weekend of the four-nation southern hemisphere championship.

The home success was founded on the back of a powerful forward display and Whiteley feels they may need to be even better in the return clash.

“We know we have to be clinical in that area of play. We are just going to stick to our processes and what we do,” he told a news conference on the team’s arrival in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

“The scrum is a big focus for us in every single game we play. The set pieces are one of the most important areas of the game so come scrum time we know that traditionally the Argentines do have a strong scrum and they are very smart... making good decisions,” said Whiteley, the former captain who played his first Springboks match in more than a year last weekend.

The other concern for the visitors is the Pumas’ dogged approach.

“Argentina did well to score great tries and every opportunity they get, they will finish,” he said.

“We know we can’t give them those kind of opportunities because they will capitalise on each and every one. That’s what Argentina are like, they are never going to give up,” he added, citing the Durban test where South Africa led by six points going into the closing stages of the match.

“We did dominate but they were always in the game and that is what we expected from them and even more so here at home,” Whiteley said. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

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