Bok centre Andre Esterhuizen. Photo: AFP
The Springboks have made some interesting selections on the bench for this Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against Argentina.
Bok centre Andre Esterhuizen. Photo: AFP
Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has retained the same starting lineup from the team’s last outing against Australia, but there have been some subtle but significant changes to the bench of ‘bomb squad’ players.
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Talented young loose forward Elrigh Louw takes over from Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk returns as scrumhalf cover in place of Cobus Reinach, while Andre Esterhuizen has returned from injury and will replace Warrick Gelant in a match that has been moved to Estadio Libertadores De América.
“We have fantastic depth within our squad with younger and more experienced players, and it requires a fine balancing act to select a squad that we think will be the best team for each match, while at the same time giving most of the players an opportunity to play,” Nienaber commented.
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Commenting specifically on the changes among the replacements, Nienaber said the “plan from the outset was to give a few players a chance to prove what they can do and to build their Test experience”.
“Especially with the Rugby World Cup a year away, and there is no better opportunity to do so than in a match which essentially amounts to a semi-final for us if we want to win the tournament.”
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Zoning in on the match against Argentina, Nienaber said they expected a hard grind.
“It’s always tough to play in Argentina,” said Nienaber. “They are a passionate rugby nation, and the Pumas will never give an inch. They also draw a lot of energy from their enthusiastic home crowd, so we are expecting a huge battle.
“They place a lot of emphasis on their physicality and their set pieces, and they have skillful backs as well, so they will test us in all departments.
“That said, we have been working hard on the areas of our game that we would like to improve on and we were able to give the players a few days off to rest and freshen up mentally last week, which we believe will set us in good stead for the match.
“We know the magnitude of the challenge ahead and that it will take nothing less than our best efforts for the full 80 minutes to register a victory on Saturday.”
RIP | TOP COMMENTATOR DIES AT RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 77 caps, 65 pts (13t)
14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 1 cap, 5 pts (1t)
13 – Jesse Kriel (Yokohama Canon Eagles) – 54 caps, 60 pts (12t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 64 caps, 40 pts (8t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 31 caps, 110 pts (22t)
10 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 22 caps, 14 pts (1t, 3c, 1p)
9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) – 8 caps, 5 pts (1t)
8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 16 caps, 0 pts
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 57 caps, 10 pts (2t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 69 caps, 35 pts (7t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Wild Knights) – 62 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 104 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 52 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 53 caps, 55 pts (11t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 65 caps, 5 pts (1t)
16 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) – 2 caps, 0pts
17 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 13 caps, 0pts
18 – Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92) – 58 caps, 5pts (1t)
19 – Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls) – 2 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 25 caps, 15 pts (3t)
21 – Faf de Klerk (Yokohama Canon Eagles) – 40 caps, 25 pts (5t)
22 – Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) – 9 caps, 0pts
23 – Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 76 caps, 150 pts (11t, 7c, 24p, 3d)
Springbok record against Los Pumas in Argentina:
Played 15; Won 12; Lost 2; Drawn 1; Points for: 508, Points against: 318; Tries scored 59, Tries conceded 30; Highest score 52-23 Buenos Aires (1993); Biggest win 33 points Salta (2019). Win % 80%.