The Pumas debut in the Rugby Championship: the head in the tournament, but look at it in the World Cup

Although there are thirteen months to go until the debut, the path of The Cougars The Rugby World Cup in France 2023 starts now. The Rugby Championship 2022 that starts this weekend is the starting point, a tournament in which we will have to be attentive to several vital aspects for the future.

After the international window in July, in which the national team played in our country and won the series 2-1 against Scotland (a rival of the same hierarchy), the team will test against the powers of the Southern Hemisphere the few weeks of training he has been with Michael Cheika, head coach who made his debut against the Scots.

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The Australian coach has already had a hand in the team. More in the game plan, in the operation and in the idea than in the names that come out on the field. He fully trusts the potential of each of his chosen ones and seeks to give them greater ease on the field of playproviding them with different tools so that they have more options when making decisions.

The crossing against the All Blacks will be only in New Zealand.

These first changes were already noticed against the Cardo team in the tests in Jujuy, Salta and Santiago del Estero, in which Cheika asked the players to forget about the result and they will play the rugby they know.

The victory in that series serves as the first step for this new cycle to gain confidence, generate expectations and know that things can be done better. In development, Los Pumas won the first game well, lost the second badly and achieved a triumph of character in the third, having been at a disadvantage throughout the game and with an opaque performance in many aspects.

That is why the objective of both the technical staff and the players is to achieve regularity and avoid the ups and downs, finding a performance floor much higher -logically- than the one seen in recent years.

Michael Cheika, new coach of Los Pumas.
Michael Cheika, new coach of Los Pumas.

Another key aspect will be solidify the foundations of defence, scrum and ruck, the pillars of Cheika’s game plan. In addition to a more offensive and dynamic proposal than the previous one, under the command of Mario Ledesma.

The first rival of the Rugby Championship will be the vulnerable Australia, with two games in a row in Mendoza -Saturday August 6- and San Juan -Saturday 13-. A rival that Cheika knows very well, since he was his coach for five years and in two World Cups, so he knows how to make them uncomfortable.

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In any case, the national head coach is a man who thinks more about how to enhance the virtues and talents of his men to exploit his game plan than about countering the rival. He likes to focus on his strengths and not on the opponent’s flaws. Although of course you know them.

The Pumas made a good impression in the test match against Scotland. (Photo Telam)
The Pumas made a good impression in the test match against Scotland. (Photo Telam)

With the change of format in the contest, This year the All Blacks will not come to visit the country, who will have to face twice in New Zealand in a very complicated mini tour despite the fact that their current situation is not the best. And with the very tough South Africa there will be a visitor match and a home match (on September 17 at the Vélez stadium).

The other important fact will be the use of the rule of 20 minute red card: when a player is sent off, he can be replaced by another after 20 minutes, so there will be no definitive numerical advantage, but it will last for a short time. This decision generated controversy, since World Rugby confirmed that it does not approve of the measure, but SANZAAR (the entity that brings together the national unions of South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina) maintained it despite the claims and anger of many.

This Rugby Championship is the starting point for the 2023 World Cup in France. It is true that there are still thirteen months to go before the debut in the RWC, but these six matches that are coming represent almost half of the matches that the national team will have before the World Cup, in addition to the possibility of spending two months all together rehearsing and correcting, testing and improving.

As for the results, The Pumas know that their objective is not in numbers but in performance, despite the fact that it is always better to train with a smile than with a long face. But that will have to be earned on the pitch.

Photo Telam
Photo TelamBy: VINCENZO PINTO | AFP

The schedule of Los Pumas in the Rugby Championship 2022

Saturday August 6 – 16.10

The Cougars vs. Australia

Mendoza (Malvinas Argentinas Stadium)

Saturday August 13 – 16.10

The Cougars vs. Australia

San Juan (Bicentennial Stadium)

Saturday August 27 – 4.45

New Zealand vs. The Cougars

Christchurch (Orangetheory Stadium)

Saturday September 3 – 4.05

New Zealand vs. The Cougars

Hamilton (Waikato Stadium)

Saturday September 17 – 16.10

The Cougars vs. South Africa

Buenos Aires (Velez)

Saturday September 24 – 12.05

South Africa vs. The Cougars

Durban (King’s Park)

History of Los Pumas in the Rugby Championship

They played 52 matches

They won 6

tied 3

lost 43

History of the Pumas vs. South Africa at the Rugby Championship

They played 16 matches

They won 3

tied 1

lost 12

History of the Pumas vs. Australia at the Rugby Championship

They played 18 matches

They won 2

tied 2

lost 14

History of the Pumas vs. New Zealand at the Rugby Championship

They played 18 matches

won 1

lost 17

The Pumas debut in the Rugby Championship: the head in the tournament, but look at it in the World Cup