This article previews the Rugby Championship fixture between Los Pumas and the Springboks at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Argentina. The game kicks off at 5:10 AM AEST on Sunday the 26th of August.
Below are the most recent results between the two sides. The Springboks maintained their unbeaten record against Los Pumas with a 27-6 win in Cape Town last week.
Last Week’s Test
The Springboks beat the Pumas comprehensively in what was a scrappy contest at times. South Africa won 27-6 however Argentina missed a string of penalty attempts shortly after half-time which could have put the Springboks under more pressure. South Africa will probably feel a good chance went begging to secure a bonus point victory in what was on paper their easiest match of the Rugby Championship. Captain Jean de Villiers has said “we played well in patches but there is a lot of work ahead and we need to be hard on ourselves when analysing this match.”
While the Argentinian backs never looked threatening, their forwards looked competitive once they stemmed the flow of penalties conceded.
South Africa’s win last week came at a cost, with hooker Bismarck du Plessis ruled out for the rest of the campaign with knee ligament damage.
Bryan Habana has been declared fit to play after injuring his ankle last week. In the forwards Adriaan Strauss replaces Bismarck du Plessis at hooker, while Jacques Potgieter is promoted from the bench to start at blindside flanker. Willem Alberts moves to No. 8 with Keegan Daniel dropped to the bench.
Below is the Springboks squad for this weekend’s clash:
15 – Zane Kirchner, 14 – Bryan Habana, 13 – Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 – Francois Steyn, 11 – Lwazi Mvovo, 10 – Morne 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.
Replacements: 16 – Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 – Pat Cilliers, 18 – Flip van der Merwe, 19 – Keegan Daniel, 20 – Ruan Pienaar, 21 – Patrick Lambie, 22 – JJ Engelbrecht
Fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez will miss this weekend’s clash after tearing a leg muscle in training on Tuesday. Coach Santiago Phelan will announce a replacement after tomorrow’s training run in Mendoza. Below is the provisional squad:
Martin Rodriguez, Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago Fernandez, Horacio Agulla, TBA, Nicolas Vergallo; Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Alvaro Galindo, Julio Farias Cabello; Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza, Juan Figallo, Eusebio Guinazu, Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements (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
The Springboks will be pleased to have Morne Steyn back to his place-kicking best after a poor series against England. Argentina desperately need to improve on their penalty kicking after Juan Martin Hernandez and Marcelo Bosch missed three attempts between them last week. Penalties will likely provide the bulk of Argentina’s points in this series. Their backline never looked like scoring last week.
I would like to see the Springboks hold onto possession more, especially if they build a solid lead. To maximise their chances of winning the inaugural Rugby Championship they will likely need a bonus point win this weekend, so they may need to stray from the usual plan of kicking possession away in a battle for field position.
Both sides have room for improvement for this Test. Argentina missed three penalties while South Africa were scrappy at times last week. If the Springboks continue to kick possession away and play a territory game then I don’t expect a blow out this weekend, but I do expect South Africa to get the job done. They will have a bonus point in mind and Argentina rarely threatened the try line last week.
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