Argentine front row to put All Blacks ‘under the hammer’

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Argentine front row to put All Blacks 'under the hammer'
NELSON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 8: The Rugby Championship between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Trafalgar Park on September 8, 2018 in Nelson, New Zealand. (Photo by Evan Barnes/Getty Images)

In the confrontational world of the front row, the Argentine front row is prepared to put the All Blacks ‘under the hammer’ when the sides meet on Saturday night.

Wishing to make history, it could be ‘up front’ that the Argentine front row plans to test the youthful All Blacks starting XV. Without senior men like Owen Franks and Joe Moody, this inexperienced group of front rowers must stand toe-to-toe

Chasing down there next bit of history in 2018, that is after already claiming wins over the South African and Australian opposition, a win over New Zealand would complete a tremendous trio of victories.

That is a big if though….but to be 100% sure, the target area will certainly be to place the youthful All Blacks ‘under the hammer’.

Argentine front row to put All Blacks ‘under the hammer’

Not entirely a strength [currently] of this 2018 vintage yet, forward play is just as much a feature of the natural game played by Los Pumas, as is their expansive back play. Coached by highly respected former Argentine forward Mario Ledesma, it is one aspect of the teams game where they have focused on specifically.

Not pleased with the match outcome in Nelson (nearly a month ago) fans can imagine that the Argentine front row has been cultured in the fine art of front row play by Ledesma this season. And now, in front of their home crowd in Buenos Aires, the trio of Ramiro Herrera, captain Agustin Creevy, and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro will be highly motivated to perform.

They will encounter Karl Tu’inukuafe, Codie Taylor, and Ofa Tuungafasi on Saturday night. True, names that may not be so well known Internationally, but who are certainly up to the standards of the All Blacks coaching group.

This is by comparison to those injured/rested teammates; Joe Moody and Owen Franks. Two men who raised the Webb Ellis Cup in 2015, so the replacement players have huge footprints to fill. Then consider the substitutes; Nathan Harris, Tim Perry, and Angus Ta’avao on debut.

And it will be this internal pressure that Ledesma and the Argentine front row are counting on.

Youthful All Blacks must live up to Expectation

Like Argentina, New Zealand rugby fans expect much of their players. So even for players with few caps, they have met the standard. So for Ofa Tu’ungafasi that means starting a test match – rather than to be a substitute.

And for the relatively new All Black Karl Tu’inukuafe, he will need to stand as tall as he has been able to – so far in his term as an emerging talent within New Zealand Rugby. With only seven test caps, the player is only in his first year of International rugby, after a breakout Super Rugby season.

For Tu’inukuafe, Tu’ungafasi and the form New Zealand hooker Codie Taylor, they will all need to live up to the All Blacks ideals ‘now’. No longer a practice or trial game, the Argentine front row will begin this test match at 100%. So too do the entire New Zealand squad. Open the game at optimum speed and then, open the throttle to its full potential.

And it is the potential of each front row packs, that fans can look forward to enjoying. It will be as competitive this test, as it will be from number 9-15. The ball in-tight will be as critical as if when the ball is spread wide.

Games played by the All Blacks average over 30 points, and in Nelson the hosts put on a 40-plus scoreline. But if the game goes ‘tight’ then expect half as many points to be scored. In fact, points might be so rare that a drop kick is used to solidify any advantage.

That point [3 points] was critical in Wellington, where poor decision making counted for much. But in Buenos Aires, some expect the battle up front to be where the second and more decisive Rugby Championship result, will be decided.

Argentina v New Zealand – Jose Amalfitani Stadium, 7:40pm (ARG)

 

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