Damian Willemse signs autographs at a signing session in Belhar last week. Photo: Noor Slamdien/African News Agency (ANA)
Damian Willemse signs autographs at a signing session in Belhar last week. Photo: Noor Slamdien/African News Agency (ANA)

Stats and facts on Bok team to take on Pumas

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Aug 16, 2018

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Stormers utility back Damian Willemse is one of two uncapped players included on the bench for the Springboks when they take on Argentina in Durban on Saturday.

Loose forward Marco van Staden will also make his Bok debut from the bench in their first Rugby Championship encounter.

Rassie Erasmus included four players in the starting line-up who will play in the Rugby Championship for the first time – Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, André Esterhuizen and Aphiwe Dyantyi.

Aside from Willemse and Van Staden, Thomas du Toit, Marvin Orie and Embrose Papier have not played in the tournament before.

The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 438. There are 96 caps in the backline, with 342 caps among the forwards. On the bench there are a further 62 caps. 
Four experienced forwards – Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw and Warren Whiteley – have been included in the starting XV. All four missing the June internationals against England due to injury.

Whiteley is making his first appearance in a Bok jersey in more than a year after he suffered a groin injury last June against France.

The Bok forward pack has a changed look as a result of the returning quartet, with Erasmus shuffling his loose forward combination and lock pairing.

Whiteley comes back into the Bok starting team at No 8, skipper Siya Kolisi moves over to the other side of the scrum into the No 7 jersey, while Louw will start in the No 6 shirt in what will be his 58th Test.

Etzebeth and Stormers team-mate Pieter-Steph du Toit are reunited in the Springbok second row, while Marx will pack down at hooker between Frans Malherbe and the experienced Tendai Mtawarira, who will run out in his 102nd Test for the Springboks.

In the backline, Makazole Mapimpi will start at right wing in the place of the injured Sbu Nkosi, with André Esterhuizen partnering Sharks team-mate Lukhanyo Am in the midfield.

Erasmus said he was pleased with the return to Springbok action of Whiteley, Louw, Etzebeth and Marx.

“Our forward depth is very good indeed and the competition for places in the team is healthy, which can only be a good thing for us as we continue to build the depth of our squad,” said Erasmus.

He is expecting a tough battle against the Pumas and reiterated the Argentineans will be energised by the appointment of Mario Ledesma as their new head coach, as well as the recent impressive performances of the Jaguares in Super Rugby.

“Their new coach comes with a lot of technical knowledge and experience from his previous coaching roles which is sure to add more firepower to their traditional strengths,” said Erasmus.

“They will be very confident as a result of the Jaguares’ great run on tour in Australasia, where they won all four their matches on the road, as well as their winning performances against our own franchises.”

Springbok team

Willie le Roux (Wasps, England), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), André Esterhuizen (Sharks), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions), Handré Pollard (Bulls),  Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warren Whiteley (Lions), Siya Kolisi (capt, Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks). Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Marvin Orie (Lions), Marco van Staden (Bulls), Embrose Papier (Bulls), Lionel Mapoe (Lions).

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