Heyneke: Pumas will step up
Heyneke Meyer (File)
Mendoza - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said his players will know what to expect when facing Argentina on Saturday in the Rugby Championship for the second week in a row.
South Africa won 27-6 in Cape Town last week in the Pumas' debut in the expanded southern hemisphere competition, and Meyer has warned his players to be prepared.
"Argentina played a very physical game in Cape Town - as we expected - and they will step it up this weekend in front of their home fans," Meyer said. "It will be a very tough test and we need to be 100 percent switched on."
Argentine players and fans are expecting the same in the match at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in the western Argentine city of Mendoza.
The Boks were in control in the opening match, but Argentina's rugged defence restricted them to three tries. The Pumas are sure to be tougher opponents with their boisterous home fans urging them on for a breakthrough victory.
"We look forward to the revenge, and with luck we'll have this opportunity," said Martin Rodriguez, who replaces Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino at fullback.
South Africa made two changes, with Adriaan Strauss replacing the injured Bismarck du Plessis at hooker and also taking over the vice-captaincy role plus Jacques Potgieter comes off the bench to start at blindside flanker, with Keegan Daniel shifting to the reserves.
The Springboks will start with the same backline, including Bryan Habana, who was questionable for the match with a left ankle injury.
"Having Bryan is obviously a big boost as we've lost a number of players with lots of experience," Meyer said.
Despite the home advantage, Argentina are the clear underdogs. They are playing their first season in the expanded Rugby Championship - the upgraded version of the old Tri-Nations - and will also be tested later this year in home-and-away matches against Australia and New Zealand.
The Springboks have a perfect record against Argentina in Test rugby, with 14 victories in 14 matches since 1993. It's a record for South African rugby, one better than 13 consecutive victories against Wales.
"We know we have to play a perfect game to beat the Springboks," Rodriguez said. "But we have possibilities. Everything needs to fall into place."
15 Martin Rodriguez,14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Alvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero
Substitutes (from): Marcos Ayerza, Martin Bustos Moyano, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, Juan Imhoff, Martin Landajo, Tomas Leonardi, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Bruno Postiglioni, Nicolas Sanchez, Leonardo Senatore, Tomas Vallejos
15 Zane Kirchner; 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht