Michael Cheika has made no fewer than five changes to Argentina’s starting lineup for Saturday’s potential Rugby Championship decider against the Springboks at Ellis Park.
While Argentina doesn’t have a realistic shot at the title, the Pumas will out to topple the Springboks to avoid the wooden spoon. They’ve finished last nine times since the inception of the Rugby Championship in 2012 and have done so consecutively for the past six years.
And in an attempt to break that unwanted streak, Cheika has rung the changes to the Los Pumas starting XV that beat Australia in Sydney less than two weeks ago.
THE CHANGES CHEIKA OPTED FOR
Centre Santiago Chocobares, lock Lucas Paulos, scrumhalf Lautaro Bazan Velez, wing Juan Imhoff and fullback Juan Cruz Mallía have all been fast-tracked into run-on team.
Among the substitutes, Ignacio Ruiz, Joel Sclavi, Facundo Isa and Tomas Albornoz will all make their first appearance in 2023.
Veteran hooker AugustÍn Creevy has not been selected to feature against the Springboks, in order to allow him to play his 100th Test match on home soil next week when Argentina host South Africa in a Rugby World Cup warm-up in Buenos Aires.
Creevy will become the Pumas’ first-ever Test centurion.
ARGENTINA TEAM TO FRONT SPRINGBOKS AT ELLIS PARK
Argentina – 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 8 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Santiago Grondona, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Lucas Paulos, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Julian Montoya (c) 1 Thomas Gallo.
Subs: 16 Ignacio Ruiz, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro,18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Pedro Rubiolo, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Matias Moroni.