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Pumas aim to upset confident title-chasing Springboks

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By Ramiro Scandolo

BUENOSAIRES (Reuters) – South Africa could seal their first Rugby Championship since 2009 with a win against Argentina on Saturday but Pumas centre Jeronimo de la Fuente said his team will aim to take advantage of their rivals’ confidence that they can win the title.

The Springboks top the table a point ahead of New Zealand, who face Australia in Perth, and de la Fuente suggested the expectation of a rare title triumph could be their downfall.

“They are very experienced players but the only thing they’ve been talking about all week is the opportunity to become champions,” de la Fuente told reporters in Salta where Saturday’s match will be played.

“When you think so much about that and the result isn’t going your way you start to ask yourselves questions out there.”

“We need to put South Africa under pressure, make them make mistakes, score first. Obviously, we know who we are up against and it is going to be a very tough 80 minutes.”

The two sides have had contrasting seasons in what is a shorter Rugby Championship than usual due to the World Cup, which starts next month.

Argentina have lost both their games, while the Springboks beat Australia and drew with New Zealand.

Their bonus point against the Wallabies gives them an advantage going into Saturday’s final round.

“It is going to be very hard, South Africa have great players who are very physical,” de la Fuente added. “Secondly, because they are coming here to win the title.

“Because of that motivation it is going to be much harder than normal. But with all the people who will be heading to the stadium, we are going to take the field pumped up, feel their support and keep running even when our legs get tired.”

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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