Argentina display Pumas spirit in upsetting South Africa

Absorbing extra energy from the presence in the stands at King’s Park of the original Pumas, who had made their first mark in 1965 with a 11-6 victory over the Junior Springboks at Ellis Park, Argentina had that spirit in abundance.

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“Rugby has psychological moments and today (Saturday) the Pumas won all the psychological moments,” former Argentina captain Hector Silva, a veteran of the 1965 tour, was quoted as saying in the Argentine daily La Nacion.

The Argentine media made a lot of the presence of 1965 Pumas at the match and the significance of a symbolic closing of the circle with wing Juan Imhoff involved in all four tries, scoring three of them, watched by his ex-Puma father Jose Luis.

“A victory like that looking to the World Cup comes in very well, not only for (Argentina’s) game but also spiritually and for the players’ conviction,” said Pumas great Hugo Porta, who inspired a South America XV to a memorable victory over South Africa in Bloemfontein in 1982.

Coach Daniel Hourcade, who has since taking charge in November 2013 overseen two Rugby Championship victories with the first against Australia in Mendoza on the last day of the 2014 tournament, saw much of his work to make Argentina a more attacking unit came to fruition.

“When we had to defend we defended, we recovered our (best) scrum. Then South Africa had to react but we had a big (points) difference that we were able to maintain,” he told reporters after Argentina’s first ever victory over South Africa.

“This was deserved, very fair and it gives us a lot of confidence for what’s to come,” Hourcade said after Argentina avoided the wooden spoon for the first time in the four seasons they have played in the championship.

Argentina, who begin World Cup campaign with a Pool C match against champions New Zealand at Wembley on Sept. 20, meet the Springboks again in Buenos Aires next Saturday in a last test warm-up also arranged as part of the Pumas’ 50th anniversary.

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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