Rugby Championship preview: South Africa v Argentina

Last Updated: 17/08/13 3:20pm

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Sky Bet

Argentina travel to Soccer City on Saturday to open their Rugby Championship campaign against South Africa in Soweto.

The South American side were added to what was formerly the Tri Nations last year and failed to win a game in their inaugural Championship but will hope to pose more of a threat this time round.

Rugby Championship Live!

You can see all the action from Soccer City as South Africa and Argentina open their Rugby Championship campaigns live on Sky Sports 4 HD from 3:30pm on Saturday.

South Africa, on the other hand, enter the tournament in fine form having won their last six Test matches with victories over England, Ireland, Samoa and Scotland in recent internationals.

Springboks head coach Heyneke Meyer has made four changes to the squad which prevailed against Samoa last time out as they seek victory, with their last Tri Nations triumph coming some four years ago.

Recovery

In the pack, Duane Vermeulen has made a timely recovery from a long injury lay-off to take the No 8 berth with Pierre Spies out injured.

Juandré Kruger comes from the bench to join Eben Etzebeth in the second row with Flip van der Merwe reduced to the replacements.

Meyer also has a wealth of experience to call on from the bench with Gurthrö Steenkamp and Fourie du Preez both likely to feature.

Into the second term of the Rugby Championship, Argentina come into the tournament with much better preparation having rested 21 players since June.

Gruelling

The gruelling six-match schedule against the world's top three teams will mark the end of Felipe Contepomi's illustrious career as the 35-year-old prepares to bow out after 15 years of international rugby.

The introduction of playmakers such as Juan Imhoff on the wing will ensure the Pumas are no longer seen as a side with sporadic talent and lacking cohesion.

Winger Gonzalo Camacho will start on the right after an impressive season with Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva Premiership which earned him a move to 10-times champions Leicester Tigers.

Prior to the sides ending level 18-18 last time they met, South Africa won 13 successive Test matches against the Pumas.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (capt), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

Argentina: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi (capt), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Matias Diaz, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Juan Figallo.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Julio Farias Cabello, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Fernandez, 23 Horacio Agulla.

What they said...

Springboks head coach Heyneke Meyer

"Continuity has been key for us this year and that is why we've opted not to make too many changes to the team for Saturday's Test against Argentina.

"We've now done the hard work on the training pitch and I can see the players are keen to get back onto the field for a Test. Now we need to put into practice what we've been working on and continue where we left off against Samoa, looking for try-scoring opportunities in the process."

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