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Argentina v South Africa – teams and prediction

PREVIEW: Much of the pre-match build-up to the World Cup warm-up encounter between Argentina and South Africa in Buenos Aires on Saturday focused on the ‘opportunities’ for individuals to impress the respective coaches.

Both Michael Cheika (Los Pumas) and Jacques Nienaber (Springboks) have used the Rugby Championship to give as many players as possible game time.

In fact, a number of the Boks will be desperate to impress Nienaber.

However, the Bok coach has placed the focus elsewhere – rather than on World Cup selection.

He sees it as an opportunity for his team to experience real Test-match pressure at Estadio José Amalfitani.

Nienaber said he expects Los Pumas to ‘up the ante’ significantly – in terms of the intensity and emotion – from the one-point (22-21) win the Boks managed at Ellis Park last week.

“If we think back to [the 26-30 loss to] France in Marseille, that is the hostility we’ll experience this coming weekend,” said Nienaber

“For this group [of players] it will be a great preparation for the World Cup.

“It will be that hostile environment and that [type of] pressure for the players.

“It is a great opportunity for us to get a little bit of that in there,” he said of the José Amalfitani cauldron.

Nienaber also spoke of the emotion around veteran Los Pumas hooker Agustin Creevy’s 100th Test – the first Argentinean player to get to a century.

It is a reality that Nienaber will name his 33-man squad next Tuesday, September 8.

That means the 50,000-seat Estadio José Amalfitani offers a final chance to shine.

The Springboks have made 13 changes to the starting line-up from last week-s win over Los Pumas at Ellis Park.

Argentina has changed five of the side that started in Johannesburg – including fullback Martin Bogado coming in for the suspended Juan Cruz Mallia.

Both teams created the impression that they are looking ‘beyond’ Saturday, even though they are saying it is important to win.

Players to watch

For Argentina: Veteran hooker Augustin Creevy will be the first Argentine player to reach 100 Test caps when he comes off the replacement’s bench. Emiliano Boffelli has returned to the Argentina starting XV, but will play on the wing as one of five changes made by Cheika. He mostly retained the same forward pack – replacing only injured lock Lucas Paulos with Pedro Rubiolo in the No.4 jersey. The other four changes are all in the backline. Banned Juan Cruz Mallia has been replaced at fullback by Martin Bogado, with Boffelli coming in on the wing in the place of Mateo Carreras. Boffelli’s return boosts the home side’s goal-kicking, with flyhalf Santiago Carreras missing three relatively simple shots at goal last week that proved very costly. Santiago Cordero replaces Juan Imhoff on the other wing, while the final change sees Gonzalo Bertranou come in at scrumhalf for Lautaro Bazan Velez.

For South Africa: Bongi Mbonambi will captain the Springboks for the first time in Buenos Aires, one of 13 changes. Flyhalf Manie Libbok and lock Marvin Orie are the only starters from last weekend to retain their places. Scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, uncapped prop Gerhard Steenekamp and loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez hope to make their first appearances of the season off the bench. Canan Moodie, Andre Esterhuizen, Deon Fourie and Jean Kleyn are amongst the players keen to make an impression ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup squad announcement.

Head to head

Argentina versus South Africa head to head

Prediction

Argentina by four points

Teams

Argentina: 15 Martin Bogado, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Santiago Grondona, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Pedro Rubiolo, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Joel Sclavi, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Matias Moroni.

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Bongi Mbonambi (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Date: Saturday, August 5
Venue: Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 16.10 (21.10 South Africa time; 19.10 GMT)
Expected weather: Sun and some clouds. High of 16°C and low of 13°C
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

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