JOHANNESBURG – Despite what New Zealanders and the rugby world at large would have you believe, the Springboks are not boring.
Instead, they are a team that is comfortable with themselves and know exactly what their identity is and how to grind out victories at any cost in tough conditions and under immense pressure. That was the decree of Argentina coach Mario Ledesma when he spoke to the media at their team announcement on Thursday.
“I certainly don’t agree,” said Ledesma regarding whether the Boks were a snore-fest to watch. “It is very subjective: What is boring and what isn’t boring?
“I thought they (the three match Test series against the British and Irish Lions) were very, very tough games and very competitive, very physical and very tense. There was a lot of pressure on the field and off the field and they won.
“They (the Boks) should be pretty happy about winning and I imagine South Africa is pretty happy with their team, who are the World Champions and won the series against the Lions, which is pretty impressive.
“It’s good for the press and I imagine it is going to be a good build-up (to the September 25 clash between the two nations) when you play the All Blacks – it is fuel for both teams.”
After such a gruelling series, Bok coach Jacques Nienaber has made 12 changes to the team that beat the B&I Lions last weekend for the opening encounter of the Rugby Champions against Los Pumas on Saturday, and although Ledesma acknowledged the changes in the South Africa side, he was not surprised. Neither does he believe that it will change the manner in which the Boks approach the game.
🔥 Saturday's clash with Argentina will be very tough— Springboks (@Springboks) August 12, 2021
🗣️ "They’ve slayed a few giants in the last few matches they’ve played"
🔗 More here: https://t.co/uSU6qhyf76#StrongerTogether #StrongerForever pic.twitter.com/fYcCwPdA2s
Springbok team: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (capt), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw (Harlequins, England), 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Dan du Preez, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Morne Steyn
Argentina team: 15 Santiago Carreras; 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Matías Moroni; 10 Nicolás Sanchez, 9 Felipe Ezcurra; 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Facundo Isa, 6 Pablo Matera; 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Guido Petti; 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 1 Julián Montoya (capt)
Substitutes: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Carlos Muzzio, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Matías Alemanno, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Sebastián Cancelliere