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Springboks make 13 changes for Saturday's rematch with Argentina

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Jacques Nienaber has named a Springboks side to face Argentina this Saturday in Buenos Aires that shows 13 changes from the XV that beat the Pumas 22-21 in Johannesburg.

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That one-point last weekend was enough to ensure that South Africa finished The Rugby Championship in second place behind title winners New Zealand and having immediately flown to South America with just a squad of 26 players, the head coach has now confirmed his much-changed match selection for the upcoming friendly.

Ten of the changes were on the cards as soon as Nienaber named his travelling squad as six of last weekend’s starting pack – Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Marco van Staden and Duane Vermeulen – along with four starting backs – Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux and Grant Williams – were among the 16 players who remained in Johannesburg to train under Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby director who will only fly out on Thursday for the game.

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Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids talks about facing Los Pumas in BA

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Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids talks about facing Los Pumas in BA

Two more backline starters from TRC round three, Jesse Kriel and Kurt-Lee Arendse, have been named on this weekend’s bench, but forward Steven Kitshoff misses out on selection on this occasion. It all means that fly-half Manie Libbok and lock Marvin Orie are the sole players retained in the starting line-up.

Rookie Libbok is named at No10 alongside Cobus Reinach, while Orie will partner ex-Ireland player Jean Kleyn at second row in a team that will be skippered by hooker Bongi Mbonambi for the first time. Meanwhile, replacement prop Gerhard Steenekamp is in line to make his Test debut and become Springbok No933.

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Along with Kitshoff, the now-ill and unavailable Lood de Jager and Jaden Hendrikse are the other travelling players who have not been included in the match at 23. “This selection includes plenty of Rugby World Cup and Castle Lager Lions Series winners as well as a former Irish international in Jean Kleyn – and this just shows the quality of the depth we have,” explained Nienaber.

“We have been emphasising the importance of giving as many players as possible a fair chance to show what they can do with an eye on finalising our Rugby World Cup squad, so we are pleased to give Herschel (Jantjies) and Jean-Luc (du Preez) an opportunity to play.

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“This is going to be a massive physical battle and there will be a lot of pressure on the players mentally and physically, which is exactly the type of situation we would like to see them in as we enter our World Cup warm-up games.

“There is a fair bit of experience within this squad, and apart from Gerhard, most of the players have been in the selection mix in the last two seasons. There is not a player in our enlarged squad who is fully confident that he will be in the World Cup squad, so the competition for places is intense.

“Each one of the players is desperate for an opportunity to play and it’s evident in the way they have been training and in the hard work they have been doing off the field, so we are excited to see what they bring this weekend.

“Argentina have shown in the last two seasons that they are a force to be reckoned with and they are particularly tough to beat at home. They pride themselves on their physicality and set pieces and they have an unbelievable fighting spirit, so we are anticipating another feisty battle against them.”

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Springboks (vs Argentina, Saturday):
15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 30 caps, 36 pts (2t, 4c, 4p, 2d)
14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 5 caps, 5 pts (1t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 34 caps, 30 pts (6t)
12 – Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) – 12 caps, 0 pts
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 37 caps, 110 pts (22t)
10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 31 pts (1t, 10c, 2p)
9 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 25 caps, 45 pts (9t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 21 caps, 5 pts (1t)
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 64 caps, 15 pts (3t)
6 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 0 pts
5 – Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 0 pts
4 – Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 1 cap, 0 points (Ireland 5 caps)
3 – Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 17 caps, 0 pts
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 60 pts (12t)
1 – Trevor Nyakane (Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 5 pts (1t)

Replacements:
16 – Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers) – 5 caps, 0 pts
17 – Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls) – uncapped
18 – Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks) – 44 caps, 0 pts
19 – Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks) – 13 caps, 10 pts (2t)
20 – Evan Roos (DHL Stormers) – 4 caps, 0 pts
21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 23 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 60 caps, 60 pts (12t)
23 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 9 caps, 50 pts (10t)

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Comments

3 Comments
D
Dries 323 days ago

The backline better focus on defence training. The front five is not world standard.

J
Joshua 324 days ago

13

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F
Flankly 13 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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