Springboks Team to Face Argentina in Buenos Aires:
The Springboks will take on Argentina in Buenos Aires this Saturday, and immediately afterwards, the national coaches will be expected to sit down and make the absolute final decisions on the World Cup squad.
This 33-man squad will be revealed early next week, and there’s a last gasp opportunity for some players to make a big impression in Argentina, with the Springbok coaches again mixing and matching with their team selections.
In total, the team for this Saturday shows 14 changes to the starting line-up, while the 23 includes talented prop Gerhard Steenekamp, who could make his Springbok debut.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber named a vastly different matchday squad to the side that defeated Argentina 22-21 at Emirates Airline Park last week, with the only two players retaining their places in the starting team being flyhalf Manie Libbok and lock Marvin Orie.
“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,” said Nienaber.
“We’ve 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.
“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.”
Nienaber admitted that while this may be a vastly different team to last week, most of the players had extended experience of the Springbok environment and knew the importance of taking the opportunity to impress.
“There’s 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,” said Nienaber.
“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’ve been training and in the hard work they’ve been doing off the field, so we’re excited to see what they bring this weekend.”
SPRINGBOKS TEAM TO FACE ARGENTINA IN BUENOS AIRES:
- Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 30 caps, 36 pts (2t, 4c, 4p, 2d)
- Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 5 caps, 5 pts (1t)
- Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 34 caps, 30 pts (6t)
- Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) – 12 caps, 0 pts
- Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 37 caps, 110 pts (22t)
- Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 31 pts (1t, 10c, 2p)
- Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 25 caps, 45 pts (9t)
- Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 21 caps, 5 pts (1t)
- Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 64 caps, 15 pts (3t)
RECORD AGAINST ARGENTINA
Played 35; Won 31; Lost 3; Drawn 1; Points for: 1215, Points against: 678; Tries scored 143, Tries conceded 64; Highest score 73-13; Biggest win 60 points. Win % 89%.