Durban - Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade believes the Springboks will be strong contenders to win the Rugby World Cup this year.
The Pumas are in Durban to tackle the Boks on Saturday in the final round of Rugby Championship fixtures this season, and Hourcade has been impressed by what he has seen from Heyneke Meyer’s men so far.
“They are a great candidate for the World Cup. They are going to arrive in a very good shape and with a team that has played a lot together,” said Hourcade.
“As a matter of fact they lost their last two games in the final moments, and they probably deserved a win in both of those matches even though they didn’t get it.”
Hourcade had special praise for Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard.
“He’s a great player and he’s had a very good season this year in Super Rugby and now he’s in a good condition in the Springbok team,” said the Pumas coach.
“He’s an excellent player and he’s in a good moment.”
But Argentina have a big name of their own pulling the strings at flyhalf in the form of Juan Martin Hernandez. The 32-year-old played for the Sharks in Durban in 2009, and Hourcade considers himself lucky to have a player of Hernandez’s ability.
“Juan Martin is a great player. He’s a world class player. His natural position is 10 but I also like him playing at 12,” said Hourcade.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
15-Joaquín Tuculet, 14-Horacio Agulla, 13-Marcelo Bosch, 12-Jerónimo De la Fuente, 11-Juan Imhoff, 10-Juan Martín Hernández, 9-Tomas Cubelli, 8-Leonardo Senatore, 7-Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6-Pablo Matera, 5-Tomás Lavanini, 4-Guido Petti Pagadizaba, 3-Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2-Agustín Creevy (captain), 1-Marcos Ayerza
Substitutes: 16-Julián Montoya, 17-Lucas Noguera, 18-Matías Díaz, 19-Matías Alemanno, 20-Tomás Lezana, 21-Martín Landajo, 22-Santiago González Iglesias, 23-Lucas González Amorosino