Springboks to go all out looking for convincing win and giving fringe players a last run against Argentina

Jacques Nienaber will be looking for an improved performance from his team against Argentina. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Jacques Nienaber will be looking for an improved performance from his team against Argentina. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 24, 2023


Although their fate is not in their own hands in winning the Rugby Championship this year, the Springboks will still go all out against Argentina on Saturday in the final match of the truncated competition.

While South Africa needs Australia to do the almost impossible and beat New Zealand in their clash for them to have a shot at the honours, the title won't be the sole focus for Bok coach Jacques Nienaber's side at Ellis Park (kickoff 17:05).

But, they will rather set their sights on delivering an improved performance in their third match of the season and burying the ghosts they chased in the test against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

While the Springboks still have an outside chance of clinching the truncated Championship, Nienaber and his assistants would rather see the team come up with a confident 80-minute performance and improve on the errors they made in the first half struggle in Auckland.

In the opening test in Pretoria, South Africa took massive strides on the attack and ran the Aussies ragged thanks to the physical step-up their forwards made.

But the tempo at which the All Blacks overpowered them two weekends ago took the world champions two steps back again. Now the team will want to take three steps forwards against the South Americans.

Argentina will provide the Boks with the perfect opportunity to test themselves physically, especially on the defence, but to also build on the running rugby they have been playing.

This will also be one of the last tests Nienaber will be able to give some fringe Springboks an opportunity to get a good run out for a last chance to impress ahead of his World Cup squad announcement.

The Bok coach will name his 33-man squad for France on 8 August in Johannesburg with his side playing one more test in Argentina before then.

It will give him enough time to test a couple of players and combinations before he makes up his mind on the composition of his squad.

The Argentinean games should give the Boks a clearer picture of their scrumhalves, loose forwards, and centres that they'll be taking to the World Cup.

After missing the first two tests, scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse will be raring to have a go in the nine-jersey. So too is 2019 World Cup winner Herschel Jantjies.

Utility back Jesse Kriel will most likely also get a run after missing out previously. He attended the Boks' media last week, and that mostly is an indication that a player will be in the squad for the upcoming test.

Andre Esterhuizen had a good outing against Australia in the midfield, while the tried and tested duo of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am showed their mettle in New Zealand.

So Kriel will be eager to impress his coaches and put his hand up.

With Pollard still absent due to a calf injury, Nienaber should give Manie Libbok more time in the 10-jersey.

It will be imperative for him to gain as much confidence at flyhalf especially if there is uncertainty over when Pollard will be back. It won't be good for South Africa to roam between pivots, but rather have someone settled in the position who has the confidence of an extended run at 10.

For the fringe locks and loose forwards, it can also be a watershed two weeks ahead of Nienaber's squad finalisation.

Players like Evan Roos, Jean Kleyn, Marco van Staden, and Marvin Orie - who enjoy the physical game — will be hopeful of getting some game time against Argentina to have a final chance of stating their World Cup claim.


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