Irish primed to round off year in style, fears Pumas lock Petti

·3-min read
Ireland will target an eighth successive win when they play Argentina on Sunday (AFP/Paul Faith)

Ireland will not suffer a hangover from their win over New Zealand last Saturday and instead be stronger when they face Argentina on Sunday, said Pumas second row forward Guido Petti.

Petti, who said he will have a little cake to celebrate his 27th birthday on Wednesday, has faced the Irish three times, losing twice but winning the most important game, the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

He hopes to have recovered from a knee problem that prevented him playing in the victory over Italy last Saturday which snapped a seven-Test losing streak.

Petti, who was part of the team that recorded a historic win over New Zealand last year, says they will have to raise their game if they are to prevent the hosts making it eight successive Test wins to round off the year.

"After victories like this (Ireland's 29-20 win over the All Blacks) I think you become stronger not weaker," he said at Wednesday's press conference via Zoom.

"They are going to have great confidence, even after what happened last week they are a serious team.

"I do not think the win will make them stop, for it is the last match before the Six Nations.

"They will want to end this Test year in the best way and they are going to be very well prepared."

Unlike All Blacks head coach Ian Foster who said he saw a different style to the Irish, Petti is not so sure.

"They had 70 percent possession against the All Blacks and they love always playing phases and phases," he said.

"They keep the ball for 20 minutes as they will be trying to search for that moment of ill discipline from the other team and punish them."

- 'Be our flag' -

Petti says part of the problem the national side has faced is their franchise no longer being part of Super Rugby.

"It was a huge change for us as 90 percent of the Pumas were playing for that franchise (Jaguares) at home," he said.

"Now almost all of us are living abroad and playing in France (he plays for Bordeaux-Begles) and England and some in Australia.

"It is a huge change for us," though he tried to strike a positive note adding: "Every change has good things and bad things."

Petti believes that things are finally gelling, having been together as a group for several months.

"The main problem for me in the Championship is we did not find each other as a team in a lot of moments," he said.

"But now in the November Tests we have become more of a unit and got that feeling of unity back which is nice."

Petti says the Pumas should nail their colours to the mast in one aspect of the game, and from that positive things and results will flow.

"Argentina teams are usually good in defence," he said.

"Some parts of this year we did a really good job of that and that should be our flag sailing away into the future.

"If you have great defence nobody can do anything against you.

"Our possession is good too stemming from lineouts and scrums.

"A good line defence is the basis to start building for the (2023) World Cup."

Petti, though, says great defence is one thing, but there is also another crucial ingredient in obtaining results and then as a result gaining in confidence.

"You have to have consistency playing the geat teams like the All Blacks or Ireland, you have to be almost perfect for 80 minutes," he said.

"Ill discipline in the Championship cost us and prevented us winning the games.

"We were really great in defence, the lineouts and scrum of course, but not for 80 minutes.

"I think if we find consistency in the team then we can do great things."

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