SALTA, Argentina – South Africa has changed its entire front row as the Springboks seek a bonus-point win in Argentina on Saturday that would clinch their first Rugby Championship title.
Props Tendai (Beast) Mtawarira and Trevor Nyakane and hooker Bongi Mbonambi have been promoted with Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and hooker Malcolm Marx sent to the reserves.
The changes for the Salta test are the continuation of a rotational system with Mtawarira, Mbonambi and Nyakane starting in a 35-17 win over Australia in Johannesburg. Kitshoff, Marx and Malherbe began the drawn test away to World Cup trophy-holders New Zealand the following weekend.
There are no other alterations to the match-day 23 as the Springboks seek to win a competition that has been dominated by New Zealand with six titles and Australia one.
“This test is a good opportunity for Bongi and Trevor to start next to the Beast, who has a wealth of experience from playing more than 100 tests,” said coach Rassie Erasmus.
“We all know about the massively difficult forward threat of Argentina. However, they are also a clever side with skill and pace out wide so we will have to be alert on defense right until the final whistle.”
Pumas veteran Agustin Creevy, meanwhile, returns to the Argentina side for the match against the Springboks.
Creevy missed Argentina’s 16-10 loss to the Wallabies in Brisbane with a shoulder injury but will slot back into the starting side this week. His return pushes Julian Montoya to the bench against South Africa.
Coach Mario Ledesma has rotated his second rowers with Matias Alemanno and Marcos Kremer, taking the place of Guido Petti and Tomas Lavanini, while flanker Javier Ortega Desio returns to the starting side.
In the backs, Emiliano Boffelli will play fullback, pushing Joaquin Tuculet to the bench in the only change to the starting backline.
Argentina: Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustin Creevy, Juan Figallo, Matias Alemanno, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera (captain), Javier Ortega Desio, Facundo Isa, Tomas Cubelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Ramiro Moyano, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Matias Moroni, Santiago Cordero, Emiliano Boffelli. Reserves: Julian Montoya, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Guido Petti, Tomas Lezana , Gonzalo Bertranou, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Joaquin Tuculet.
South Africa: Tendai Mtwarira, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen (captain), Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Makazole Mapimpi, Damian de Allenda, Lukhanyo Am, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux. Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, François Steyn, Jesse Kriel.
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