We don’t take wearing the Springbok jersey lightly - assistant coach Mzwandile Stick

South Africa national rugby team assistant coach Mzwandile Stick checking players during a warm up before their game against the British & Irish Lions at the Cape Town stadium

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has insisted every outing for the national rugby team is of utmost importance, ahead of South Africa’s Test match against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Aug 5, 2023


The Springboks do not see Saturday’s clash against Argentina in Buenos Aires as a warm-up game ahead of the Rugby World Cup, but rather as a Test that will go a long way in getting them mentally ready to defend their world title.

Although there is nothing on the line, the Boks want to stay in that Test mindset ahead of France 2023, and there are few places better to do it than in front of a hostile Argentine crowd that will fuel their passionate players from the first whistle (9.10pm SA time kick-off).

The duel will be the final match for South Africa before coach Jacques Nienaber announces his 33-man squad on Tuesday for the showpiece tournament.

“We are taking this as a Test, more especially because you are wearing a Springbok jersey. We don’t take it lightly,” assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said on Friday during the captain’s press conference in the Argentine capital.

“We are not approaching this as a warm-up game … we are going full-out. It’s going to be a very tough game, and as a coaching team, it’s always nice to be building while we are winning.

“So, it will be very nice to win because it will put us as coaches in a good space. We were disappointed with the performance last week – where a lot of things didn’t go our way – but once again, being able to win the game and pull it through after a tough performance by Argentina was pleasing.

“It was probably part of their plan to frustrate us.”

Stick added that this one game will not make or break the chances of those players still hoping to be included in the Bok squad.

But he knows there will be some disappointed guys, while those selected as reserves could still get a look-in if there are injuries.

In 2019, prop Trevor Nyakane and utility back Jesse Kriel were injured and had to be replaced during the tournament.

“I wouldn’t put it that way that if a player does not perform in this game, his chances (of making the squad) would be gone. We know our players well and they work hard,” Stick said.

“Hopefully, everyone gets a good run and performs well so that everyone is in a good space.”

Both sides have changed players, and there could be some teething problems at the start. But it promises to provide red-hot action, especially as long-serving hooker Agustin Creevy will play in his 100th Test off the bench.

“I remember him very well. I think it was 2005 when he was one of their top players at the Junior World Cup when we played in Mendoza,” Stick said.

“To see him now as the first Argentine player to make 100 Tests, it is a massive achievement, so congratulations to Creevy and his family.”


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