CAPE TOWN: South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber has rotated his team for their second Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday and has reverted to something close to a full-strength side.
The Springboks beat Argentina 32-12 in their competition opener at the same venue this past weekend with a much-changed team.
However, they have restored their regular backline with the return of flyhalf Handre Pollard, wings Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi, and the centre pairing of Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende.
The line-up is similar to the one that played the third test against the British & Irish Lions and clinched the series.
“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 last two months a chance to get some valuable game time,” Nienaber said in a media release from South African Rugby.
“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.”
Props Thomas du Toit and Trevor Nyakane will partner hooker Malcolm Marx in the front row, with Marvin Orie to get a first test start at lock alongside Lood de Jager.
Captain Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert and No. 8 Jasper Wiese make up the loose-forwards.
“Argentina will come hard at us, so we know we need to perform much better than last week to get the desired result,” Nienaber 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 in our performance.
“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.”
After this weekend, both sides will travel on the same chartered flight to Australasia for the remainder of the competition.
They will play two fixtures each against Australia and New Zealand. – Reuters