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Rugby Close losses buoy Pumas ahead of Springboks date

Argentina are hoping they can continue to challenge the Springboks on Saturday, after two honourable losses in 2014.

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play (Omni Sports)

Argentina are closing on their first win over South Africa, but Joaquin Tuculet said it will not be easy for the Pumas to break the drought in their Rugby Championship clash.

The South Americans are preparing for the Test in Durban on Saturday, with both them and the Springboks without a win in the 2015 four nations tournament.

Neither are in contention for the title, with the All Blacks and Wallabies playing off for the silverware in Sydney.

The two nations will clash again seven days later in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match in Buenos Aires, and Tuculet is eyeing a scalp after two promising efforts against the Springboks in 2014.

The Pumas were 13-6 losers in Pretoria, before being edged 33-31 in Salta in heart-breaking Rugby Championship defeats.

Their performance on South African soil 12 months ago was all the more notable, given the Argentines had conceded 73 and 63 points in two of their three previous visits.

Tuculet said his team-mates are aware of what is required to earn a historic result.

"Last year we had good matches against South Africa and show a good level for much of the game, but not enough for us to beat them," he said, via Union Argentina de Rugby's website.

"We must show the same level for 80 minutes if we [are to] finish celebrating."

Tuculet said Wednesday was the Argentinians' rest day after heavy sessions.

The 25-year-old was at full-back against the All Blacks before missing the Wallabies' visit to Argentina, but is a notable name return - while the Springboks, themselves, are buoyed by captain Jean de Villiers' inclusion.

"South Africa has a very tough team, almost unchanged and the return of De Villers surely will be a plus for them," Tuculet said.

"They are a great team with great experience in all lines. We must focus on our game and hope the team we have [is good enough]."

De Villiers is back in the starting XV for the first time since injuring his knee in November in Cardiff.

The Springboks will be keen to preserve their unbeaten efforts against the Pumas, in their final tournament Test match before the Rugby World Cup starts in September.

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