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VIDEO: Springboks to target quick ball and breakdown stability against Argentina

By Marc Jacobson - Aug 17, 2017
VIDEO: Springboks to target quick ball and breakdown stability against Argentina

The Springboks team announcement took place at the Garden Route Hotel in Port Elizabeth on Thursday afternoon, with the one notable change seeing Cheetahs eighth-man, Uzair Cassiem start at no.8 in the absence of captain Warren Whiteley, for the side’s first Rugby Championship match-up against Argentina at the NMB Stadium on Saturday.

For his side’s game-plan heading into their face-off against Argentina, against whom the Springboks lost one and won one last year, Coetzee emphasizes that South Africa need to up the intensity and physicality in order to alleviate any threat posed by the South Americans.

“Intensity and physicality is a must and we have to make great decisions on the ball, in the breakdowns and in tackle scenarios and we have to take our targets and threats away, in order to get our quick ball,” Springboks Head Coach Allister Coetzee said at the team announcement conference.

“We love quick ball, and we want to score tries, so there may be great opportunities from broken play – so it is really important that we utilize the widths of the field from that quick ball, so in all departments we need to make a massive step-up.”

“Defensively, Jaco Kriel and Siya Kolisi on the flanks, as well as the tight five for stability, are objected to make sure we get that quick ball with quick reactions to the breakdowns, without getting isolated, because we do know that the Argentineans do easily flood quick access to the ball,” Coetzee added.

The starting 15 sees three personnel changes to the line-up since their third Test against France in June, which South Africa won 35-12. Lock Eben Eztebeth retains his captaincy of the national side from that Test.

Cassiem slots in-place of Jean-Luc du Preez, who shifts to the bench this time-round, while prop Coenie Oosthuizen replaces Ruan Dreyer, who became a late call-up and is covering the fringes of the squad, and scrumhalf Ross Cronje replaces Francois Hougaard, who also moves to the bench-cover.

“It is important to note that in the June Test Series, we only had one specialist eighth-man in our captain Warren Whiteley, and now this time we also have Cassiem and Dan du Preez in the mix, so at least we have three number eights heading into the Championship now," Coetzee said.

“I’m happy to also know that with Cassiem, our balance is right, he’s played at eight before, and his line-out intelligence is impeccable, as well as being a great contester – a very similar role to Whiteley; he plays in the wide channels and tackles really well too.”

Hougaard and Du Preez are joined on the bench by experienced prop Trevor Nyakane, as well as Curwin Bosch, the promising young Cell C Sharks and Junior Springbok flyhalf, who will make his Springbok debut should he run onto the field on Saturday.

Fittingly, Bosch could very well debut in his home town of Port Elizabeth, after having matriculated at Grey High School just two years ago.

“He’s a wonderful young talent, and it’s our responsibilities to manage him properly, and he is without a doubt a prolific goal-kicker and he also covers both 10 and 15, and therefore Bosch is an ideal selection from the bench,” Coetzee said.

“Curwin is a young player with huge potential and a bright future ahead of him. He can be very proud of his inclusion in the match day squad as he matriculated from Grey Port Elizabeth just two years ago,” he added.

Experienced Springbok Tendai Mtawarira is set to play in a record 30th consecutive Castle Lager Rugby Championship match, surpassing the record held by wing Bryan Habana. “Beast” will also extend his record as the most-capped Springbok prop to 91 Tests.

Saturday’s fixture at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is match number 100 for South Africa in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship since the inaugural Tri-Nations match against Australia on 13 July, 1996. The match is also the tenth meeting between the Springboks and the Pumas since the Argentinians joined the competition in 2012.

The Springboks are unbeaten at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with three wins and a draw dating back to 2011 at the state-of-the-art venue.

The Springbok side to face Argentina in Port Elizabeth is: 
15. Andries Coetzee (Emirates Lions), 3 caps, 0 points
14. Raymond Rhule (Toyota Cheetahs), 3 caps, 0 points 
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), 19 caps, 25 points (5t) 
12. Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Bulls), 29 caps, 20 points (4t) 
11. Courtnall Skosan (Emirates Lions), 3 caps, 0 points
10. Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), 14 caps, 130 points (1t, 22c, 27p) 
9. Ross Cronje (Emirates Lions), 2 caps, 5 points (1 t) 
8. Uzair Cassiem (Toyota Cheetahs) 1 cap, 5 points (1t) 
7. Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions), 8 caps, 0 points 
6. Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), 19 caps, 5 points (1t) 
5. Franco Mostert (Emirates Lions), 9 caps, 0 points
4. Eben Etzebeth (captain, DHL Stormers), 57 caps, 15 points (3t)
3. Coenie Oosthuizen (Cell C Sharks), 26, 20 points (4t) 
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), 5 caps, 5 points (1t) 
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), 90 caps, 10 points (2t)
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), 8 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), 13 caps, 0 points
18. Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), 28 caps, 5 points (1t) 
19. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), 23 caps, 15 points (3t) 
20. Jean-Luc du Preez (Cell C Sharks), 4 caps, 0 points
21. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors, England), 42 caps, 25 points (5t) 
22. Curwin Bosch (Cell C Sharks), uncapped
23. Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), 22 caps, 15 points (3t)

Stats and milestones:

• Tendai Mtawarira will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok prop to 91 caps in this position. He is the third most experienced Springbok forward behind Victor Matfield and John Smit.

• Mtawarira will also play in his 40th Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test match, which ranks him fourth behind Bryan Habana (53), Jean de Villiers (50) and Victor Matfield (48).

• The following players will make their Castle Lager Rugby Championship debuts: Uzair Cassiem, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronjé, Raymond Rhule and Courtnall Skosan. It will also be the first games for Jean-Luc du Preez and Curwin Bosch should they come off the bench.

• Bosch will become Springbok #887 if he runs onto the field as a replacement.

Image: Uzair Cassiem (left) and Ross Cronje (right) speaking to media at the Springboks team announcement presser.

Watch to get a view of the Springboks team announcement presser held at the Garden Court Hotel on Thursday afternoon.