CAPE TOWN – “We are ready for whatever Springbok team we play.”
So says Argentina skipper Julian Montoya when asked during their team announcement press conference whether they find it “disrespectful” that the South Africans have made so many changes for their Rugby Championship-opener.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber on Tuesday named 10 changes to the starting team from the one that beat the British & Irish Lions 19-16 in the Series-decider a week ago. The side features a new backline and front row, with two changes on the replacements bench.
Los Pumas hooker Julian Montoya will lead a strong outfit when they meet the Springboks at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors’ matchday 23 features Pablo Matera, Facundo Isa and flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez.
When asked for his thoughts on the Boks’ sweeping changes and what he makes of it, Montoya said: “I’m not one to say whether they are doing the right things or not, we must think about our own team,” the captain told media during yesterday’s presser. “We have a lot of things to think about ourselves first. We are ready for whatever team we play.”
Montoya added that he’s expecting the world champions to stick to their strengths and try and beat them with physicality.
During the Lions Series, the Boks’ kicking game worked a treat in the second half of the second Test, which they won 27-9.
They also varied their game and scored two stunning tries in that match,both the product of nifty attacking kicks, showing howt they can mix it up.
On what he’s expecting the South Africans to bring, Montoya said: “South Africa is a physical team, it’s in their DNA, and their kicking game is also good. They will also fight at the breakdown. We are looking forward to it.
“It has been a really, really cold week, but our training has been good.”
The match will kick off at 5.05pm.
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