Eben Etzebeth will play his first Test of 2018 when South Africa kick off their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina on Saturday.


Etzebeth missed the entirety of the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign with shoulder and back problems and last featured for the Springboks against Wales in Cardiff on December 2.

But the 26-year-old is one of four experienced forwards returning to the side this weekend, with Malcolm Marx, Warren Whiteley and Francois Louw also included in the starting XV.

Marx missed the June clashes with Wales and England with a hamstring problem, while Whiteley has been out of Springboks action for more than a year due to a groin injury and Louw is also yet to feature in 2018.

The return of the quartet sees skipper Siya Kolisi shifted to number seven in a reshuffled pack, while uncapped duo Marco van Staden and Damian Willemse are named among the replacements.

“Our forward depth is very good indeed and the competition for places in the team is healthy, which can only be a good thing for us as we continue to build the depth of our squad,” said Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus.


New Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has included Saracens prop Juan Figallo after he sought clearance to loosen the rules on the selection of Europe-based players.

Figallo – the only non-Jaguares player in the side – has not featured for the Pumas since they lost the third-place play-off at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Meanwhile, Cyle Brink has withdrawn from the South Africa squad after suffering a knee injury in training. No replacement will be called up.



South Africa: Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Tendai Mtawarira, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi, Warren Whiteley.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Embrose Papier, Lionel Mapoe, Damian Willemse.


Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Bautista Ezcurra, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolas Sanchez, Gonzalo Bertranou; Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustin Creevy, Juan Figallo, Guido Petti, Matias Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Javier Ortega Desio.

Replacements: Diego Fortuny, Santiago Garcia Botta, Santiago Medrano, Tomas Lavanini, Tomas Lezana, Martin Landajo, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Juan Cruz Mallia.

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