Schalk Brits knows they will be facing a wounded Argentinian team. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix
Stand-in Springbok captain Schalk Brits has warned of an Argentina backlash in their Farewell Test at Loftus Versfeld today.

And Brits, who has been handed the captaincy in the Boks’ final Test at home before their departure for Japan and the World Cup, said it would take a few minutes for the team to click due to the many new combinations.

“Argentina will be coming at us, they are hurting, they are a proud nation, and they are tough,” he explained.

“It will by no means be easy, but I am looking forward to seeing how the team comes together. It might be a bit disjointed at the beginning because we haven’t played together, but as the game progresses, we should get momentum and hopefully click.”

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus selected a radically different team than the one that featured in their Rugby Championship matches against New Zealand and Argentina.

None of the starting XV that featured in the Boks’ 46-13 win last week over Los Pumas in Salta, which saw them win the Rugby Championship, will play a part in today’s Loftus clash while only five that were in the match-day squad have been selected .

“We are relatively sure, probably about 80 percent sure, about what the World Cup squad will look like especially in terms of the make-up,” Erasmus said.

“Are we going to go for four locks, five loose forwards, five props and that kind of thing? We’ve explained all this to the guys in detail, so they know what it will take to compete for positions.”

Erasmus will announce the 31-member World Cup squad on August 26, and it is unlikely any fringe players will change his mind about the final make-up of the group.

Today’s game is mostly about giving players like regular captain Siya Kolisi some game time and testing a few combinations.

The inimitable Brits was in a buoyant mood during yesterday’s pre-game press conference after he was named as captain.

“It is a massive privilege and very unexpected. To lead your country is one dream that has come true and it’s going to be amazing to lead an unbelievable team,” he enthused.

“For me, being part of the Springboks is such a huge honour.

“I’ve been involved since 2008 but have only played 12 Test matches, yet every time I get selected, or even performing a supporting role, it’s an unbelievable honour.”

Brits, aged 38 and three months, becomes the second oldest Springbok captain.

At 38 years and 172 days old, Victor Matfield holds the record as the oldest player to lead the Boks into battle when he wore the captain’s armband against Los Pumas in the bronze medal match at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Brits said he was just warming the seat for regular Bok captain Kolisi, who will be making a cameo appearance today as he is eased back into action following a long injury lay-off.

“Siya is still our captain, and I am going to rely heavily on him and the other leaders in our team,” Brits said.

“From my perspective, we just want a complete team performance, and if we can get that right, then I think we will be happy as a team.”

Brits believes it will take the first couple minutes of the match for combinations to settle but hopes they will then be able to execute the game plan they have worked on.

“We want to put a performance together that the supporters, my team-mates and the coaching staff will be proud of.”

@ockertde


Saturday Star