Argentina almost caused a stir in the last Rugby Championship match of 2023.
Granted, the South Americans have long since ceased to be cannon fodder and they can undoubtedly win important games away from home, but the Springboks should have plenty of ammunition at the iconic Ellis Park, right?
However, the Goats had to stand out especially in the second half to keep the fiery Argentinians away from their goal line. Damian de Allende’s yellow card further complicated things, but when the final whistle finally blew, they won 22–21.
Jacques Nienaber believes that the showdown is a good dress rehearsal for the upcoming World Cup tournament in France.
“We are going to be in similar situations at the World Cup and the way Duane (Vermeulen) handled things after the yellow card was very good,” said the Springbok coach.
According to Nienaber, he is satisfied with the way his players defended their man. Yes, there were some technical and tactical mistakes, but these can be corrected.
“It wasn’t the prettiest showdown at all, but it’s good that we had to dig deep to win a game.”
The Springbok management has selected a group of 26 players to travel to Argentina for next weekend’s World Cup preparation match in Buenos Aires.
Evan Roos, Jean Kleyn, Jean-Luc du Preez and Joseph Dweba are among the forwards, while Herschel Jantjies and André Esterhuizen can get a chance to play in the back line.
“This will be the last opportunity for the players to make their mark before the World Cup squad is announced and we are excited about the prospect.”
However, he warned that the Argentines will play with even more passion in front of their home crowd.
“It promises to be not only a physical test for the players, but also a mental challenge. Argentina enjoy incredible support from their home crowd.”
Springbok squad to Argentina:
Forwards: Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Gerhard Steenekamp, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Joseph Dweba, Lood de Jager, Jean Kleyn, Marvin Orie, Jean-Luc du Preez, Evan Roos, Jasper Wiese, Deon Fourie and Franco Mustard.
Backs: Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Manie Libbok, Lukhanyo Am, André Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel, Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Damian Willemse.
Players left behind in South Africa:
Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Ox Nche, Kwagga Smit, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden and Duane Vermeulen.
Backs: Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Handré Pollard and Grant Williams.