Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Boks keep that winning feeling for Pumas Test: ‘Next two games like finals’

The Boks will be hoping that naming an unchanged starting line-up will allow them to keep up the winning momentum against Argentina.


For the first time this international season the Springboks have decided to keep that winning feeling alive by naming an unchanged starting 15 for their Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

The Boks have named the same 15 that comfortably beat the Wallabies in their last outing in Sydney, with young Canan Moodie continuing on the right wing after his impressive try scoring debut.

Damian Willemse keeps his place at flyhalf as expected after the injury to Handre Pollard and recent drama that saw Elton Jantjies withdrawn from the squad, while Frans Steyn will provide flyhalf cover off the bench.

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A big change comes on the bench where young Bulls eighthman Elrigh Louw comes in for Duane Vermeulen, while the only other changes to the match 23 sees Faf de Klerk return to the bench in place of Cobus Reinach, and Andre Esterhuizen in place of Warrick Gelant.

The Boks will be hoping that naming an unchanged starting line-up will allow them to keep up the momentum from their bonus point win over the Aussies, with the next two games against the Pumas being treated as a knockout matches.

“We will be treating the next two games as a semifinal and final because if we want to be successful and win the Rugby Championship we have to treat them like that. Every Test match for us we want to win at all costs,” explained Bok coach Jacques Nienaber.

“We have not been as consistent in team selection as we would have liked, because we wanted to look at where our broader squad is currently at.

“So we haven’t had a massive focus on continuity this season. Although we want to win every match we have been thinking broadly and giving players a chance, like we are with Elrigh this weekend.”

Different venue

Saturday’s game has also been moved to a different stadium, after the pitch at the Jose Amalfitani Stadium was deemed to be in too poor condition to play on, with it now being held at the Avellaneda Stadium, however this doesn’t bother the Boks in the slightest.

“I haven’t personally overseen a Test match in Buenos Aires yet and I was out of Super Rugby when teams played here against the Jaguares. So I have never been here and I don’t think that the change in venue affects us at all,” said Nienaber.

The Boks and Los Pumas will be in action on Saturday at 9:10pm, with the game live on SuperSport.

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