Springboks travel to Salta seeking a bonus point win to secure the TRC title...the Pumas cannot win the title but need to show some form as RWC approaches.
The Pumas have been boosted by the return of former captain and hooker Agustin Creevy (pictured below), who starts their final TRC game against the Springboks. Creevy replaces Julian Montoya in the starting line-up after missing their recent defeat to Australia, as the Pumas look for a morale-boosting win at home.
For the Springboks the experienced Tendai Mtawarira, Bongi Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane will pack down in the Springbok front row. The reshuffled front row is the only change to the starting fifteen from the one that held New Zealand to a thrilling 16-16 draw in Wellington in round 2. Duane Vermeulen will again lead the Springboks as captain.
Mtawarira, the most experienced Springbok prop in history, and Nyakane replace Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe, while Mbonambi takes over the hooker duties from Malcolm Marx.
National director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, described Saturday’s vital clash as another very important opportunity to build momentum towards the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“The Pumas are a very difficult team to play at home and they will be fired up for this one in front of their passionate crowd in Salta. This Test is a good opportunity for Bongi and Trevor to start next to ‘Beast’, who has a wealth of experience from playing more than 100 Tests for the Springboks.
“We all know about the massively difficult forward threat of Argentina, however, they are a clever side with skill and pace out wide so we will have to be alert on defence right until the final whistle,” said Erasmus.
South Africa and Argentina have played three times before in Salta. The first Test, in 2014, was won 33-31 by the Springboks, while the Pumas won the second encounter at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in 2016, also by two points (26-24).
The last encounter between the two countries in Salta was in 2017, when Eben Etzebeth’s team, playing in a special edition red jersey, triumphed by a winning margin of 18 points (41-23), which was also the Boks’ biggest Castle Lager Rugby Championship victory in Argentina.
15. Willie le Roux (Wasps, England), 54 caps
14. Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), 8
13. Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), 7
12. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 38
11. Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), 6
10. Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), 40
9. Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), 22
8. Duane Vermeulen (captain, Vodacom Bulls), 47
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 48
6. Kwagga Smith (Emirates Lions), 2
5. Franco Mostert (Gloucester Rugby, England), 30
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), 77
3. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), 39
2. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 28
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 109
Herschel Jantjies stays on the bench for Springboks
Replacements: 16. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 18. Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), 19. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), 20. Francois Louw (Bath Rugby, England), 21. Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), 22. Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France), 23. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), 42, 60 (12t)
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