Allister Coetzee has named his Springbok team to take on Argentina in the opening weekend of the Rugby Championship on Saturday. The starting line up includes returns for Bryan Habana, Johan Goosen, Oupa Mahoje and Lood de Jager.
Prop Julian Redelinghuys will earn his first start for the Springboks, after having previously been capped four times off the bench. He comes in at tighthead as replacement for the injured Frans Malherbe, who is struggling with a neck injury.
Lock De Jager has recovered from the calf injury he sustained against Ireland in June and takes over the No 5 jersey from Pieter-Steph du Toit, who will provide cover from the bench.
The third change in the pack sees the return to the starting line-up of Mohoje as replacement for Siya Kolisi, who recently underwent ankle surgery.
In the back division, Springbok record try scorer Bryan Habana will run out in his 118th Test after he was named as left wing, while he was also confirmed as the Springbok vice-captain.
The versatile Goosen, who is equally at home at flyhalf and centre, has been entrusted with the fullback duties, the same position where he played in his previous outing for the Boks, in 2014 against Italy.
“Argentina are one of the leading rugby nations if you consider that they have reached the semi-finals of two Rugby World Cups,” said coach Coetzee.
“They are renowned for their strong scrummaging and mauling, very good defensively and have developed an attacking style of play which will test our defence.”
Kickoff at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, Sat 20 Aug, 17:05 local, 12:05 ART, 15:05 GMT, 01:05* AEST, 03:05* NZST
15 Johan Goosen, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Jesse Kriel
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano
STATS AND FACTS:
Head to head:
- South Africa and Argentina played their first Test in the Rugby Championship four years ago, almost to the day, on 18 August, 2012. Saturday’s Test will be the eighth Rugby Championship match between the two countries. Of the previous seven, South Africa won five with one match drawn and a loss in Durban last year, the first ever loss against Argentina since their first Test in 1993.
- The Springboks’ record is as follows: Played 7, Won 5, Lost 1, Drawn 1, Points for 209, Points against 126, Tries for 21, Tries against 11, Average score 30-18.
- Bryan Habana needs one try to extend his own tournament career record to 20, which will equal 100 tournament career points. One try will also extend his own world record for most Test tries as a wing to 65. He needs three appearances in this tournament to reach 50 tournament appearances.
- Eben Etzebeth will play in his 25th consecutive Test match.
- Rugby Championship debuts: Ruan Combrinck, Faf de Klerk and Julian Redelinghuys. Also Steven Kitshoff, Jaco Kriel, Bongi Mbonambi and Rudy Paige, should they be used off the bench.
- Adriaan Straus will be the 13th Springbok captain in the competition.
- Mbombela Stadium’s seating capacity is 40 929.
- The Springbok record at the stadium is: Played 2, Won 2, Points for 61, Points against 47, Tries for 7, Tries against 5, Average score 31-24.
Full press conference with comments from Coetzee and Habana (17mins)