Cape Town - The Springbok side for Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener
against Argentina at FNB Stadium in Soweto shows four changes from the
team which beat Samoa in June.
Kick-off is at 17:00.
VIDEO: A puma hunts a springbok ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship Test
Two of the changes are in the starting XV, both of them in the forwards,
and two on the bench for this Test, which forms part of the Nelson
Mandela Sport & Culture Day activities.
Up front, Duane Vermeulen is back in action after an injury lay-off and takes over from the injured Pierre Spies at No 8.
lock, Juandré Kruger and Flip van der Merwe swap places, with the
latter moving to the bench and the former starting next to Eben Etzebeth
in the middle row.
Ruan Pienaar retains his No 9 starting berth, despite Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer recalling Fourie du Preez from Japan. Du Preez will start on the bench, alongside experienced front-ranker Gurthrö Steenkamp.
“Continuity has been key for us this year and that is why we’ve opted
not to make too many changes to the team for Saturday’s Test against
Argentina,” said Meyer.
“It’s great to have Duane back at No 8, while Juandré has been doing
great work in the line-outs all season long. To have someone of the
calibre of Flip on the bench, next to the experience Fourie and Gurthrö
bring to the team, is a great situation to be in.”
Looking ahead to the Test, Meyer said: “It’s a marvellous occasion and
special to be part of a unique day where we can all celebrate the
contributions former president Mandela made to South Africa.
“I think it was clear last year that the Argentineans are not in the
Rugby Championship to make up the numbers, which means we
will have to be focused on doing the little things right. They’ve been
together for a few weeks now and will be a tough opponent on Saturday.
“We’ve now done the hard work on the training pitch and I can see the
players are keen to get back onto the field for a Test. Now we need to
put into practice what we’ve been working on and continue where we left
off against Samoa, looking for try-scoring opportunities in the
15. Willie le Roux, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein
15. Juan Martin Hernandez, 14. Gonzalo Camacho, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11. Juan Imhoff, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Martin Landajo, 8. Leonardo Senatore, 7. Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6. Pablo Matera, 5. Patricio Albacete, 4. Manuel Carizza, 3. Matias Diaz, 2. Eusebio Guinazu, 1. Juan Figallo
Substitutes: 16. Agustin Creevy, 17. Nahuel Lobo, 18. Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19. Mariano Galarza, 20. Julio Farias Cabello, 21. Tomas Cubelli, 22. Santiago Fernandez, 23. Horacio Agulla
Stats and facts:
• The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 485 Test caps (300 in
the backline and 185 in the forwards), while there are a further 208
caps worth of experience on the bench.
• South Africa and Argentina have played each other 15 times since 1993,
with the Springboks winning 14 Tests and one was drawn. The Springboks
have scored 587 points and 74 tries, and conceded 294 points and 27
tries for an average score of 39-20.
• South Africa and Argentina last met on August 25, 2012 in Mendoza during
the inaugural Rugby Championship. The game ended in a
• Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 72 Tests in this position.
• Morné Steyn will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok
flyhalf, with 44 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, he will
extend his record of seven Test tries as a flyhalf for South Africa
• Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing,
with 85 Tests in this position. He will also equal Joost van der
Westhuizen’s record of six career appearances against Argentina and if
he scores a try, Habana will extend his record of 50 Test tries for
• Bismarck du Plessis needs a try to become the sole record holder of
career tries by a Springbok hooker in Tests. He shares this record of
six with John Smit.
• Fourie du Preez is back in the team after playing his last test for
South Africa in 2011 - against Australia on October 9, 2011 in
Wellington in the quarter-final of the Rugby World Cup, which South
Africa lost 9-11.
• The referee is Chris Pollock of New Zealand. This will be his second
Test involving South Africa. On July 23, 2011 he was the man in the
middle when South Africa lost 20-39 against Australia in Sydney.
Springbok Test match records at FNB Stadium, Soweto:
• Most points – 17 by Morné Steyn (1c, 5p) against New Zealand on August 21, 2010.
• Most tries – one by Schalk Burger against New Zealand on August 21,
2010 and by Bryan Habana against New Zealand October 6, 2012.
• Most conversions – one by Morné Steyn against New Zealand on August 21, 2010 and by Johan Goosen against New Zealand on October 6, 2012.
• Most penalty goals – five by Morné Steyn against New Zealand August 21, 2010.
• No Springbok has ever scored a drop goal in Tests at this venue.
• The Test match against New Zealand on August 21, 2010 was attended by a
crowd of 94 713. This is the official record for a Test match in South