Eyes will be firmly fixed on highly promising hooker Joseph Dweba, who plays for Bordeaux in France, when the Springboks takes on unpredictable Argentina in their first match of the Rugby Championship at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Dweba, who will be part of the front row with Wilco Louw of Harlequins in England and Ox Nché of the Sharks, will make his debut against the Pumas in this match that the Springboks will be under pressure to win at home.
This will be the first time the Boks are playing in the Rugby Championship since they won the World Cup as they sat out last year’s edition of the southern hemisphere Test championship due to logistical complications that were brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19.
Covid-19 is still a factor in everybody’s lives but professional and amateur sport in South Africa has resumed and the Springboks are fresh from their impressive 2-1 win over the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber made wholesale changes to the team that beat the British and Irish Lions in the third Test to hand rare starts for the likes of Dweba, Damian Willemse, Sbu Nkosi, Aphelele Fassi, Elton Jantjies, Jasper Wiese, Wilco Louw, Nché.
Other players who are expected to get some game time are Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Dan du Preez and Herschel Jantjies who have been named among replacements to bring fresh legs in the second half.
Springboks VS Argentina
Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber included uncapped hooker Joseph Dweba as part of his massive 12 changes to the match-day squad that won the third and final Test against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town last weekend.
Nienaber made 10 changes to the starting team, which features a fresh backline and front row, and two changes on the replacements bench and they will have to deal with Argentina’s serious physical challenge.
On the bench, Springbok coach opted for a six-two split of forwards amongst the replacements.
The only players who retained their places in the starting team from the final Test against the British and Irish Lions are captain Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Japer Wiese and Cobus Reinach.
The changes to the pack of forwards see Ox Nché, who has recovered from his neck injury, and Wilco Louw join forces with Dweba in the front row to replace Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi respectively.
Kwagga Smith replaces Franco Mostert at blindside flank in a loose trio with Kolisi and Wiese, Elton Jantjies starts at flyhalf in a halfback pairing with Reinach to replace Handré Pollard while Frans Steyn and Jesse Kriel will join forces in the midfield in place of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.
The other changes in the backline sees Damian Willemse replace Willie le Roux at fullback, while Sbu Nkosi and Aphelele Fassi, who made his Springbok debut against Georgia last month, will start at wing in place of Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi respectively.
On the replacements bench, Marvin Orie and Dan du Preez have been drafted in to provide cover at lock and loose forward respectively, while the two backline replacements are Herschel Jantjies and Morné Steyn.
For the Pumas, coach Mario Ledesma made only one change from the team that beat Wales last month and that change sees experienced scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli making way for Felipe Ezcurra.
Ledesma went for experience as his team has familiar faces who will be looking to continue with their recent impressive form of only one loss in seven Tests against some of the top sides like New Zealand, Australia and Wales.
A surprise in their starting line-up comes in the pack where their usually reliable and combative lock Tomas Lavanini has been dropped to the bench but he is going to be a serious threat in the second half if he is introduced.
Pick: Springboks Wins by 0.30 at BetXChange