In the final home match before RWC 2019 South Africa play host to Argentina on Saturday. The fixture is not a Rugby Championship match but, instead a RWC warm-up. For Los Pumas it is their final test match before facing France in Tokyo on Saturday, September 21.
South African Head Coach Rassie Erasmus has changed his side altogether. The new-look Springboks are to be led by veteran hooker, Schalk Brits. He is to do so despite regular captain Siya Kolisi being fit again and named to start at flanker.
Brits joins Thomas du Toit, and Vincent Koch in the front-row. With the heavy RG Snyman, and Lood de Jager behind them the Sprongboks scrum will again be formidable despite the changes.
The back-line will have a new partnership in the halves with Cobus Reinach joining Elton Jantjies. Heavyweight André Esterhuizen will play at inside center with Jesse Kriel outside him while there is to be plenty of speed outside in the form of Dillyn Leyds, and Sbu Nkosi.
Mario Ledesma has also changed heavily, albeit not altogether like Erasmus. Of the side hammered 46-13 in Salta last Saturday ten have not been retained in the starting line-up for Pretoria.
In the front-row Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustín Creevy, and Juan Figallo all drop to the bench. Their respective places go to Mayco Vivas, Julián Montoya, and Santiago Medrano. Behind them will be Guido Petti, and Tomás Lavanini which is a double change with Matías Alemanno named on the bench, and Marcos Kremer at flanker.
Kremer joins captain Pablo Matera, and N8 Javier Ortega Desio in the back-row. Again on the bench will be Tomás Lezana while Facundo Isa drops out of the 23.
In the backs Ledesma has taken a big gamble in multiple positions. In the halves Felipe Ezcurra, and Joaquín Díaz Bonilla have both been named to start for the first time in their careers. They replace Tomás Cubelli, and Nicolás Sánchez.
Lucas Mensa will make his test debut at inside center, doing so inside Jaguares captain Jerónimo de la Fuente. Mensa not only has no prior test match experience but has also never played Super Rugby.
In the back-three Joaquín Tuculet takes over from Emiliano Boffelli with the former requiring a solid showing to secure his place in the RWC roster. Ramiro Moyano will play left wing with Sebastián Cancelliere on the right replacing Santiago Cordero.
Cancelliere had a solid Super Rugby campaign though has been unable to play for Los Pumas this year until now. He is another who must stand-out as the uncapped Santiago Carreras awaits his first cap from the bench. The decision sees Bautsita Delguy missing out.
For all involved the match is more than a RWC warm-up. Places on the plane to Japan are on the line and cannot be taken for granted. There will be no quarter for anyone looking to protect themselves from potential injury.
There have been 29 prior test matches between Argentina and South Africa. The Springboks have won 25 times while Argentina have 3 victories. Argentina’s three wins came in 2015 in Durban; 2016 in Salta; and 2018 in Mendoza.
South Africa enter Saturday’s match as favorites. Their Rugby Championship title win makes them strong candidates for RWC 2019. Argentina was badly beaten last weekend in Salta and many of the players are yet to rest from Super Rugby. South Africa are favorites to win by 10 points.
2019 Men’s Internationals
SOUTH AFRICA V ARGENTINA
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria (NZ Time 18 Aug 2019)
RSA (on 86.83 points) at home -vs- ARG (on 76.28 points)
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If RSA win by 1-15 points||0.000||86.83||76.28||No|
|If RSA win by more than 15||0.000||86.83||76.28||No|
|If result is a draw||1.000||85.83||77.28||No|
|If ARG win by 1-15 points||2.000||84.83||78.28||No|
|If ARG win by more than 15||3.000||83.83||79.28||No|
1 Thomas du Toit, 2 Schalk Brits (capt.), 3 Vincent Koch, 4 RG Snyman, 5 Lood de Jager, 6 Siya Kolisi, 7 Rynharddt Elstadt, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 9 Cobus Reinach, 10 Elton Jantjies, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 12 André Esterhuizen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 15 Warrick Gelant
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Frans Steyn
1 Mayco Vivas, 2 Julián Montoya, 3 Santiago Medrano, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 6 Pablo Matera (capt.), 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 12 Lucas Mensa, 13 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 14 Sebastián Cancelliere, 15 Joaquín Tuculet
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Benjamín Urdapilleta, 23 Santiago Carreras
Date: Saturday, August 17
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 12:05pm (Argentina)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)