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Bok coach Nienaber rings changes for second Test against Argentina

17 August 2021 - 16:21 By mahlatse mphahlele
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is expecting a tough match against Argentina.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber is expecting a tough match against Argentina.
Image: David Rogers/Getty Images

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has once again rung wholesale changes to the team for the second Rugby Championship Test against Argentina at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

The starting XV shows 11 changes from last week's bonus-point win over the Pumas with six in the backline and five upfront, as Nienaber has brought back a number of players who featured in the recent series win over the British and Irish Lions.

The match 23 shows 17 changes from the squad that beat Los Pumas last weekend. Players who have maintained their places are Lood de Jager, who will be playing in his 50th Test, captain Siya Kolisi, Jasper Wiese and Cobus Reinach.

Reinach will start in the same backline that secured the series win in the final Test against the British and Irish Lions two weeks ago, with Handré Pollard at flyhalf, and Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am returning to the midfield.

Wingers Makazole Mapimpi, Cheslin Kolbe and fullback Willie le Roux are back at their posts in the back three.

Orie, who has made all five of his Test appearances off the bench, along with Malcolm Marx and Trevor Nyakane have been promoted to the starting team where Thomas du Toit will also start his first Test of the season.

The only change in the loose trio is at flank where Franco Mostert steps in for Kwagga Smith, who moves to the bench in place of the injured Marco van Staden.

The replacements bench, which features a six-two split of forwards again, also has a new look to it with Janse van Rensburg joined by Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.

The two backs on the bench are scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, who scored a try on debut last weekend, and Damian Willemse (utility back).

“A few players didn’t play last week after a physically demanding Lions series and are now back in the mix, while we also wanted to give a few players who have worked hard at training over the past two months a chance to get some valuable game time,” Nienaber said. “This is a long season so we need to get the balance right between building consistency in selection and in our performances, managing the players in terms of their workload and building depth within our squad.”

Nienaber congratulated De Jager, SA Rugby’s Player of the Year in 2015 who made his Test debut a season earlier, on becoming the fourth player this season to earn a half-century of Tests.

“Lood is a stalwart and his work ethic is admirable so we are excited to see him achieve this big feat,” said Nienaber. “It takes special character to feature and perform consistently at international level and to play 50 Tests for the Springboks, and Lood is certainly deserving of this accolade.”

Nienaber was also pleased to see Janse van Rensburg earn his place among the replacements after making appearances for the SA A team against the B & I Lions and the Bulls last month.

“Nicolaas has been with the squad since our conditioning camp in Bloemfontein in June and it has been great to see him get stuck in at our training sessions, so this is a fantastic opportunity for him,” said the Springbok coach.

Nienaber said the Boks are expecting Argentina to come out firing.

“Argentina will come hard at us, so we know we need to perform much better than we did  last week to get the desired result,” he said.

“While we were pleased with the victory and to start our Rugby Championship campaign on a winning note, there was a lot of room for improvement.

“We’ve identified a few areas we need to work on if we want to defend our title successfully, and we will work on those aspects of our game at training this week.

“Argentina play with a lot of passion, much like we do, so they’ll want to show their fighting spirit, which will set the scene for another challenging Test.”

Springbok XV: 15. Willie le Roux, 14. Cheslin Kolbe, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Handré Pollard, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Jasper Wiese, 7. Franco Mostert, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Lood de Jager, 4. Marvin Orie, 3. Thomas du Toit, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: 16. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Steven Kitshoff, 18. Frans Malherbe, 19. Nicolaas van Rensburg, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Dan du Preez, 22. Jaden Hendrikse, 23. Damian Willemse.