But their ambitions stretch beyond isolated triumphs and veteran hooker Agustin Creevy sees no reason why they can’t be genuine challengers at next year’s World Cup in France.
Once international rugby’s outliers, the Pumas’ participation in the Rugby Championship over the past decade has given them exposure to the world’s best and under the recent tutelage of Michael Cheika they have found a coach who knows how to win important Test matches. All that’s missing, suggests Creevy, is a little consistency.
“We believe in us, we believe in our team and players,” said the 37-year-old, speaking at the University of Edinburgh’s playing fields at Peffermill. “We know how we can win against Scotland. Obviously they played pretty well against New Zealand and they are a tough team. But we’ll see on Saturday.
“We want to be the champions, to be honest, in the next World Cup. We want to improve on our play. We are in a process - we are changing our mentality. We want a winning mentality and with Michael Cheika we are doing that. And if we can be champions, why not?”
Cheika’s credentials are top notch. The former Wallabies boss is the only coach to win both the Heineken Cup and Super Rugby. Asked where Cheika has made the biggest difference, Creevy points to his head. “It’s confidence, I think. He puts the focus on our winning mentality, to believe in our team and to think we can win every game. And that’s the most important thing - because in terms of physicality I think we’re at the same level as the top teams.”
Since arriving in Europe the Pumas have beaten England 30-29 at Twickenham and lost 20-13 to Wales, and Creevy knows they need to put together a run of results if they are to emulate or surpass their achievements of 2007 and 2015 when they reached the World Cup semi-finals.
“We win a really important game, against New Zealand for example, then the next weekend we lost against New Zealand by 40 points. Or maybe we won against England but lost against Wales when we could have won. So, these types of things we must focus on as a team, to be more consistent.”
Saturday’s match at Murrayfield will see Creevy lock horns with Jamie Ritchie for the first time since the Argentine forward was sent off for headbutting the Scotland captain while playing for London Irish against Edinburgh in last season’s Challenge Cup. Creevy doesn’t expect to encounter any residual bad feelings. “No, but it’s alright. It was an action in the game, it obviously wasn’t appropriate, of course. Emiliano Boffelli tells me he is a good guy and I don’t have a problem with anyone.”
Creevy says Argentina will lean on Boffelli’s inside knowledge this week. “He doesn’t know exactly what is going to happen, but he maybe has some details and small things we can pay attention to,” said Creevy, who rates the Edinburgh winger as one of the best in world in terms of aerial ability and goal kicking.