Ross Cronje makes a pass as Elton Jantjies looks on. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH - Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronjé says he’s “raring to go” for Saturday's Rugby Championship-opener against Argentina at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Earlier this week, Cronjé was in doubt to feature in the match against the Pumas as he was struggling with an injury niggle, but the Lions No 9 has been cleared to run on for his third Test cap in the Friendly City.

“I’m raring to go. It’s going to be a tough challenge, but I truly believe the boys are up for it,” he said.

Cronjé, who was the preferred halfback partner to flyhalf Elton Jantjies with the Lions this season, was also excited to partner with his franchise pivot at international level, and added that the Boks have put sound plans in place should the Pumas try to target Jantjies’ channel.

“Elton is a great ball player and he makes my life a lot easier. I believe we’ve got that nine and 10 link that’s needed, and he takes a lot of pressure off me. And vice versa, when he’s under a bit of pressure, I’ll look to take a bit of pressure off him,” Cronjé said.

“Most teams do run at Elton, but we’ve come up with a plan to help him out with that.”

Cronjé was also chuffed with the rest of the Bok backline’s “grit and flair”, while adding that they’ve done their homework when it comes to the Argentinians’ aerial onslaught.

“I think we’ve got a truly exciting backline. There’s a bit of grit plus a bit of flair, which is quite exciting. There’s a plan when it comes to our counter and what we’re going to do if they kick on us. We know they’ve got big carries that are going to counter us. We are prepared for that.”

Regarding his selection at No 9 in the place of Rudy Paige and Francois Hourgaard, Cronjé said: “Hougie is a top-quality player, and then you’ve got Rudy who brings so much energy to the squad.

“Those guys are biting at my heels, so there are expectations to perform. But they’re both supporting me at the moment, and vice versa - if they got the opportunity to start, I’d also support them. ”

Cape Argus

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