Rugby Championship: Argentina v South Africa match preview

Last Updated: 22/08/14 10:58am

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South Africa travel to Salta to take on Argentina looking to maintain their perfect start to the Rugby Championship.

The Springboks prevailed 13-6 in the first clash between the sides in Pretoria last Saturday, where minutes before kick-off rain had turned to hail, making handling incredibly difficult.

Back on home soil, Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade is looking for his side to play the game they had planned for last Saturday before the weather took hold.

He has made two changes to his starting line-up - centre Juan Martin Hernandez, a late injury withdrawal from the side beaten in Pretoria, returns at inside centre in place of Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, while Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino comes in on the right wing for Horacio Agulla.

There are also two changes among the replacements - prop Bruno Postiglioni gets the nod ahead of Lucas Noguera Paz and Agulla takes the place of Amorosino - as the Pumas seek a first Championship victory after a draw and 12 defeats

Hourcade said: “These are changes we already had in mind, Juan Martin was going to play last week and now comes back into the team after the niggle he had.

"We also wanted to look at other options, rotate a bit to give other players some minutes, but very little so as not to modify the team structure.

"We're going to play the game we had planned on playing last Saturday and couldn't because of the rain, especially in attack."

Smith returns

Versatile forward Juan Smith will complete a remarkable return to international rugby when he starts for South Africa in Salta.

Smith was called into Springboks squad as a replacement for fellow 2007 World Cup winner Victor Matfield and is now in line to win his first cap since he faced England in November of 2010.

Smith’s inclusion at flank is one of three changes to the starting team, with a further four changes on the bench.

Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop) and Eben Etzebeth (lock) will start in the tight five, with Tendai Mtawarira and Bakkies Botha moving to the bench.

Marcell Coetzee will join them amongst the replacements after coming in as a late substitute for the injured Willem Alberts last weekend while Lwazi Mvovo has also earned a spot on the bench.

Saturday’s Test will be the Springboks’ first visit to Salta and coach Heyneke Meyer is aware his team will have to raise their performance levels if they are to win on Argentinian soil.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Meyer said. “Although we were happy with the result in Pretoria, we were not happy with the performance and this is an opportunity to show improvement against a tough opponent away from home.”

Argentina: 15 Tuculet, 14 Gonzalez Amorosino, 13 Bosch, 12 Hernandez, 11 Montero, 10 Sanchez, 9 Landajo; 1 Ayerza, 2 Creevy (capt), 3 Herrera, 4 Galarza, 5 Lavanini, 6 Matera, 7 Fernandez Lobbe, 8 Leguizamon.
Replacements: 16 Cortese, 17 Postiglioni, 18 Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Alemanno, 20 Senatore, 21 Cubelli, 22 De la Fuente, 23 Agulla.

South Africa: 15 Le Roux, 14 Hendricks, 13 De Allende, 12 De Villiers (capt), 11 Habana, 10 Pollard, 9 Pienaar; 1 Steenkamp, 2 B du Plessis, 3 J du Plessis, 4 Etzebeth, 5 De Jager, 6 Louw, 7 Smith, 8 Vermeulen.
Replacements: 16 Strauss, 17 Mtawarira, 18 Malherbe, 19 Botha, 20 Coetzee, 21 Hougaard, 22 Steyn, 23 Mvovo. 

Watch Argentina take on South Africa in Salta on Saturday live on Sky Sports 3 HD from 8.30pm.

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