When the Stormers left for their trip to Argentina to play the Jaguares, they were worried about the hostile reception they would get from the hosts’ crowd.
With fans close to the fields in Argentina, you can understand their thinking.
Argentinians are passionate people who wear their hearts on their sleeves.
But on Saturday, it wasn’t the fans in the stands that intimidated the Stormers players.
Instead it was Agustin Creevy and the rest of the Jaguares players who did the job.
As soon as the first whistle had been blown, the Jaguares were in the faces of the Stormers.
Coach Robbie Fleck said prior to the game that their opponents are a different beast when they defend their home turf.
So they might have expected the Argies to come at them hard, but the brutality with which their hosts tackled and tried to dominate their visitors surprised even the most hardcore rugby fans.
There is a difference between intensity and physicality of the professional game and that of amateur rugby.
In the pro game, players have respect for the rules and are bound by contract to act, well, professionally.
So while their bodies are better conditioned when compared to those of the average amateur player and they play at a higher intensity, they don’t play the game vuil - there are too many cameras around.
Now the Jaguares have found a way to be “vuil”, even with the cameras around and it would have been a bit of a skrikmaker to some of the youngsters in the Stormers team.
That brings me to the mothers of sons playing this game.
With Stormers players scattered all over the ground in the first half because of injuries, you can only imagine the moms of the players wanting to take their kids off the field.
I’ve seen this happening before.
I know a few rugby moms who really can’t stomach watching their little boy slamming into tackles and putting their bodies on the line for a game that involves an oval ball.
Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus would have been one of those “mommies” with his heart in his throat when Damian Willemse cried out in pain towards the end of the first half.
As he was screaming out, I thought: “daar gaan hy, World Cup over.”
And I can only imagine how those close to him must have felt, thinking he just suffered serious injury.
To my surprise, Willemse took the field in the second half and was even more involved in the game than before, showing no signs of the injury that left fans gutted for a moment.
It is the youngster’s 21st birthday tomorrow - his mondigwording - the day he finally “becomes a man”.
And the Jaguares gave him a good idea of the pains of the “big man’s” world.
I believe the Jaguares did Willemse and his teammates a favour by roughing them up on Saturday.
Yes, it wasn’t pretty.
But that’s rugby. Real rugby.
So often these players get to the professional stage of the game without facing these street-wise, in-your-face tactics that we so often see in club competitive rugby in and around the Western Cape.
I’ve always been a fan of players going through the proper channels - meaning they play a bit of club rugby as well to get used to this sort of thing.
It is not happening any more, as players get selected straight out of school and into the system.
Willemse is a good example of this, but he, and his teammates, would have learnt on Saturday that this oval ball game of ours can be brutal at times.
And they will be better for it in the long run.