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England skipper Hartley may be scrum target for Argentina's 'Bajada' technique

Published 22/11/2016

Guido Petti believes the set-piece could prove crucial in Argentina's clash against England
Guido Petti believes the set-piece could prove crucial in Argentina's clash against England

Argentina hope to get on top of England's powerful scrum by seeing if they can heap the set-piece pressure on captain Dylan Hartley this weekend.

Pumas lock Guido Petti hailed England's tight-game as the "thermometer" of Eddie Jones' resurgent troops, who are chasing a perfect winning run in 2016.

Argentina's classic 'Bajada' scrum technique directs all the force onto the opposing hooker, so England skipper Hartley could be in for a rough ride in Saturday's Twickenham Test.

Second row Petti has watched England's set-piece trials against South Africa and Fiji, and admitted Argentina will aim to impose their authority at the scrum this weekend.

"The thermometer of this England team is the forwards winning the physicality," said Petti.

"When they get control there they are very strong. The key in this match is going to be this. Lots of scrums, lots of mauls. The one who dominates these things will dominate the match.

"The forwards of England are very good, very powerful, very strong. It's good playing teams with these strengths. We want to play against the best and England are one of the best."

The Pumas' 'Bajada' technique was developed in the 1960s and centres around the second rows binding around the props' waists rather than between the legs.

That, coupled with a sharply-orchestrated drive, centres the pressure on the opposing hooker.

Petti admitted Hartley could feel the brunt of that old-school approach, should Argentina pull it out when the time is right at Twickenham.

"Yes we can do that, and maybe we have to think which scrums to fight and which ones not to," said Petti of Argentina's unorthodox scrummaging technique.

"We know that the scrum will be a very important area for this match.

"Our scrum has improved a lot in the past few matches.

"I think against Scotland we had a great scrum, but England is going to be more difficult.

"Their physicality is their strength. They are very aggressive.

"Dylan Hartley is a great player, he's very experienced and he knows how to lead England.

"But this will be a big battle, and one I think both sides will relish."

Argentina know they must beat England to have any chance of avoiding the group of death at World Cup 2019.

Victory would edge the Pumas up to eighth, with the World Cup pool draw taking place in May next year.

This weekend represents Argentina's last chance to affect their ranking before that pool draw - and the top eight teams can expect a softer allocation in May, being sorted into the top two pots.

"One of our objectives is to be in the top eight so our defeat to Scotland was not very good," said Petti.

"But we can turn things around if we win against England. It is going to be very difficult but we will give it our all.

"We are really confident despite having two losses on this northern tour.

"The rankings are very important, but also, if you want to be world champions then you have to beat everyone at some point.

"Being in the top eight was our objective for the end of the year. This is our last chance."

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