Argentina confident despite travel factor

Getty Images     04 Sep 2012     Getty Images

The Pumas were delayed for six hours in transit in Chile and cancelled their first training run in Wellington on Monday to allow the players to recover from the lengthy journey.

"We had a delay in Chile and we have taken almost 24 hours to arrive so we are a little bit tired. But I hope from tomorrow we will be okay to train and do everything like normal," said the 31-year-old Toulouse second-rower.

"Before leaving Argentina we trained Thursday and Friday. We'll begin our preparation [in Wellington] one day later but we prepared for that because we trained two days in Argentina."

Argentina arrived in the New Zealand capital with some confidence after their strong performance in the 16-16 draw against South Africa.

They were in control for much of the match in Mendoza as they rattled the Springboks up front and put them under pressure with their kick-chase game. It was only a late charge-down try to Frans Steyn that allowed the South Africans to escape defeat.

"It encourages you because it tells you you've been work hard and properly," said lock Manuel Carizza.

"We know that there's a big difference between us and the rest of the teams. But when you play well like we did last Saturday, it tells you that you can compete with them.

"That's very good for us."

But both players are aware the All Blacks' counter-attacking with ball in hand will be a very different challenge to the one South Africans mounted.

"It's very hard to find weaknesses in the All Blacks game," admitted Albacete. "They are very complete. It's going to be a hard match for us this weekend.

"We know they are more dynamic than the Springboks and maybe everyone will have to run more because they are more dynamic."

Argentina are also trying to expand their own game-plan which typically relies heavily on their forwards, a dogged defence and the kick-chase.

"Now we are trying to play something different. We are trying to adapt to the Rugby Championship," said Carizza.

"Maybe it takes time but our objective is to play more like the All Blacks - to have more alternatives.

"It's true that we feel very confident when we play close and we kick and we chase. That's not something we're going to stop doing but we'll try to have something else."

Former All Black coach Graham Henry has been helping Pumas coach Santiago Phelan with that in his role as technical advisor. He will be with the team in Wellington.

"The Pumas, in the last couple of years, we've had a very good defence but we have a lot to improve in our offensive game," said Albacete.

"Graham has given us lots of confidence and lots of new training methods to improve that. We are very happy to have him with us."