Robin McBryde backs power packed Pumas

Both the Pumas (10 November) and the Wallabies (1 December) travel to
the Millennium Stadium as part of the 2012 Dove Men Series - which will
also see Wales face Samoa (16 November) and New Zealand (24 November,
sold-out) - so the national forwards coach has been keeping a close eye
on future opponents in the recent Championship matches.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has already predicted trouble
ahead for the Wallabies this weekend, whilst Springboks boss Heyneke
Meyer says the world's third placed side are facing an ambush at the
hands of the Pumas.

Argentina led Australia 19-6 midway through their previous match on
the Gold Coast and the Wallabies have since lost Berrick Barnes (lung),
Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion) and Quade Cooper (knee) to injury and
also have Radike Samo (shoulder), Digby Ioane (knee) and Tatafu
Polota-Nau (head, shoulder) in doubt.

And now McBryde is backing the South Americans to arrive in Cardiff
having achieved something which eluded Wales on three attempts down
under this summer - victory over the Wallabies.

"I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see them get that first elusive
win next week. They are without doubt a top rugby nation and have
proved themselves already in the Rugby Championship," said McBryde.

"They were impressive against the Springboks and managed to come away
with a draw and they have run the Wallabies close already, getting to
within a try of winning. They will gain confidence from that and from
the way they started against New Zealand last weekend and I think things
are going to be pretty intense for Australia in Rosaria.

"The atmosphere in Buenos Aires at the weekend was tremendous and
Argentina is always a difficult place to go. It could come down to how
well Australia travel and it will certainly not be a shock to see the
Pumas beat them and get that first win in the Championship on home soil.

"We have been saying in Wales for a long time now that it is only by
testing ourselves against the best teams that we are going to get better
ourselves. That is why we have taken on all the tough fixtures we could
and this November will be no different.

"Argentina are going down that route now too with the Rugby Championship and it can only work in their favour."

The Pumas (8th) are sitting just two places behind Wales (6th) in the
IRB World Rankings and McBryde believes the South Americans will be
targeting victory in Cardiff in order to send a message around the rugby
watching world.

"They will be coming here wanting to show how much they've improved
based on their experiences of intense competition in the Rugby
Championship," said McBryde.

"They have been competitive against all three of the top teams in
world rugby and that is only going to benefit them. Graham Henry has
been down there and you can see his influence when you look at the high
standard of their defensive displays.

"They scored two tries against the All Blacks at the weekend, which
is no easy feat and they'll want to prove a point and show the world
that they are an improved side. There's no better way to do that than to
come up against the current Grand Slam Champions and beat them in their
own back yard - that's why the first game up will be very important to
us too."

Wales are targeting the November series as a chance to get back to
winning ways after returning empty handed from their summer tour to

McBryde is philosophical about the 3-0 Test Series defeat to the
Wallabies in the summer. Whilst taking some consolation in the
performances produced by his side in each Test, the former international
hooker is not satisfied with just getting close to victory.

"From our point of view we learnt a lot from the Australia tour. But
as close as the three match series was, we lost the games and we have
been there before in terms of being so close but yet so far," added

"We want to go somewhere we haven't been before and that means
beating the top teams in the world and doing it consistently. We know we
have got to be at our best right from the outset this November
otherwise Argentina could catch us cold."

The Wales squad for the Dove Men Series is set to be announced on
Monday, 22 October, a week before the party travel to Poland for a week
long training camp at the specialist athlete training centre in Spala,
which was their home for three weeks prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"It's very important for us to start well, we have a demanding
series. That's why we are going to Poland for the hard work and to
develop that mental edge," said McBryde.

"The Pumas will be hugely competitive and it's very important for us
to get off on the right foot. Particularly with the three games which
follow against Samoa, the All Blacks and the Wallabies, there will be no
hiding place for us."

Leave a Reply