But Pumas will scrap till the end

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

"Five down, two to go" could well be the thought going through Springbok coach Jake White's mind as he prepares his side for Sunday's Rugby World Cup semifinal clash with Argentina at St Denis, France.

After his team's display last Sunday, where they put away Fiji 37-20, White was left with more questions than answers after the South Pacific Islanders gave the more fancied Boks a run for their money.

Sucked in to playing Fijian-style rugby, White must have been worried when, with only 20 minutes left on the clock, his team were locked 20-20 and definitely on the defence.

It was their inability to impose their playing style on the opposition that must have worried White the most.

That along with a number of missed tackles, an indifferent kicking display by fullback Percy Montgomery and the inability of his forward pack to stamp their authority on the game.

Taking on Argentina will definitely be a step up.

The Pumas are a lot more structured unit and rely heavily on an enormous forward pack and on flyhalf Manuel Contepomi, a player who possesses a deadly boot.

Give the Pumas an inch and they are guaranteed to take the proverbial mile and it will be this feature of their play that will be worrying captain and hooker John Smit the most.

"We relaxed a bit and missed a few tackles," said Smit following the game against Fiji.

"We have a week to prepare for our semifinal and know we have a lot of work to do," he added.

For Argentina it is a dream come true. Never before have they reached a semifinal at a World Cup and in scrumhalf and captain Agustin Pichot, they have a shrewd tactician.

Usually the smallest player on the field, the tiny Pichot never takes a step back and is confident his side has what it takes to beat South Africa.

But JP Pietersen is the danger man.