Fri 16 Aug 2019 | 07:39

Preview: South Africa v Argentina

Preview: South Africa v Argentina
Fri 16 Aug 2019 | 07:39
Preview: South Africa v Argentina
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WORLD CUP WARM-UP MATCH: Is this really a Test match?

Without wanting to be negative, it is a question that should be asked as we look ahead to Pretoria and some 35 000 people who have bought tickets.

Look at the two teams. Of the 30 players who started last Saturday’s Test, there are two still in their positions.

Of the Springboks, nobody who started last week will start again this week.

Of the Pumas, Ramiro Moyano and Pablo Matera are back again and three have shifted their positions – Jerónimo de la Fuente, Javier Ortega Desio and Marcos Kremer.

That’s five out of 30 – 17 percent. Somewhere, somehow, it does not seem best versus best.

It is understandable in this World Cup year that there is experimenting to be done.

It is understandable that squad members need to get game time.

But why call it a Test? It could have more honestly been South Africa A versus Argentina A, leaving a Test to be a nation’s best versus a nation’s best.

Point made.

* Continue reading below video …

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We have a rugby match to look forward to, to be played by outstanding players.

All of the Springbok starters have Test caps – from Siya Kolisi and Jesse Kriel, who are into the 40s, to Rynhardt Elstadt, who has just started.

The Pumas have two new caps in Lucas Mensa and Santiago Carreras.

The rest are all capped Pumas and include strong Pablo Matera.

A lot will depend on how the players find each other when the battle becomes intense, and the Pumas are likely to want intensity and collision in the game.

Players to Watch

For South Africa: Amongst the Springboks, there are clever Warrick Gelant, speedy Sibusiso Nkosi, intuitive Dillyn Leyds and Cobus Reinach, who was excellent when he came off the bench against the Wallabies in Johannesburg. Among the forwards, there is surprisingly skilful Rudolph Snyman, who seems not to need a rest, and his lock partner Lodewyk de Jager, who may well need the match to be on the trip to Japan after a wobbly time with injury.

For Argentina: Of the Pumas, one would especially like to see their wings, Sebastián Cancelliere and Ramiro Moyano in action as they both have the speed and talent to be world-class wings. Then there is clever Jerónimo de la Fuente. In the forwards, they have several strong, battle-hardened men. The pack could well lay the foundation of a Puma victory, and to lead them is Pablo Matera, the silent assassin.

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Head to Head

Pack versus Pack could be the contest that decides the match. Unless there has been a miracle, the Springboks will dominate the scrums. There are not many scrums in a match but each one has the ability to influence morale and so the direction of the match. Last week, there were 10 scrums in which the Pumas were penalised six times – surely a record of some kind for a Test match. Hard man versus Hard man – Pablo Matera versus Rynhardt Elstadt. Matera is three years younger than Elstadt but has over 50 caps more. He has great international experience, but Elstadt may just be the most fearless rugby player in the world. There could be a clash of strength here. Locks versus Locks could be a great contest, especially in the line-outs – Lodewyk de Jager and Rudolph Snyman versus Tomás Lavanini and Guido Petti. The Puma pair will not blink in the contest. The battle for the loose ball could be interesting as neither side has a robber chief but expect Marcell Coetzee to be prominent.

Recent Results

Given the nature of the two selections, past records may not be all that relevant.

Last Seven Matches

2019: South Africa won 46-13, Salta
2018: Argentina won 32-19, Mendoza
2018: South Africa won 34-21, Durban
2017: South Africa won 41-23, Salta
2017: South Africa won 37-15, Port Elizabeth
2016: Argentina won 26-24, Salta
2016: South Africa won 30-23, Nelspruit

The two countries have met only once at Loftus Versfeld. That was in 2014 – on August 17 to be precise, five years to the day before this coming Saturday’s match. The rain fell that day, as it will not, apparently, this Saturday. The Springboks won 13-6, Ruan Pienaar scoring the only try. Players who played then and will be playing this time are Marcell Coetzee and Lodewyk de Jager for the Springboks and Joaquín Tuculet (on debut), Pablo Matera, Matías Alemanno (on debut) and Tomás Lavanini for the Pumas.

Prediction: These Springboks will surely play with great determination in their hearts. They are Springboks and, moreover, there is the chance of a trip to Japan when the Springboks will play four pool matches – not only against New Zealand and Italy, but also against Namibia and Canada. Pride and the enjoyment of the game itself may well be the Pumas’ motivation. We predict a victory for the Springboks by five points or so.

Teams

South Africa: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Schalk Brits (captain), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Albertus Smith,
22 Francois de Klerk, 23 Frans Steyn.

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Sebastián Cancelliere, 13 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 12 Lucas Mensa, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Santiago Carreras.

Date: Saturday, 17 August 2019
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT; 12.00 Buenos Aires time)
Expected weather: Hundred percent sunshine with a high of 29°C and a low of 9°C
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

@rugby365com

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