Springboks unchanged for Pumas Test
August 21, 2013
Jano Vermaak replaces Fourie Du Preez as the only change on the bench © Getty Images
South Africa have retained the team that crushed Argentina by 60 points for the return Rugby Championship Test in Mendoza on Saturday.
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer had no choice but to give a vote of confidence to the team that far exceeded expectations with a nine-try 73-13 romp in Soweto, but there is one enforced change among the eight replacements with scrum-half Jano Vermaak replacing club-tied Fourie du Preez. Du Preez, who came off the bench last weekend after a two-year Test absence, plays in Japan and is available only for the three home Tests. The Springboks next host Australia and world champions New Zealand in late September and early October.
Assuming reserve hooker Bismarck du Plessis comes off the bench in Mendoza, he will join 23 Springboks to reach the 50-cap mark. "It will be a special day for Bismarck and a well-deserved honour," Meyer said in a statement released on Wednesday. "He has always given 100% for the Springboks and will do down in history as one of the best hookers to play the game.
"We are in a very privileged position to have two of the best hookers in world rugby in Bismarck and Adriaan Strauss. They bring out the best in each other and will continue to grow as players and leaders in the team."
After several seasons as understudy to now retired Springboks skipper John Smit, du Plessis's hopes of becoming a permanent starter were dashed by a long-term injury. But the outstanding form of Strauss in the set-pieces and loose exchanges has meant du Plessis starting on the bench.
Meyer said the Soweto rout was history, and he expects the crowd in Mendoza to stir the shell-shocked Argentinians. "We experienced first-hand how passionate their supporters are last year, and how they can lift the Pumas," Meyer said in reference to last year's 16-16 draw secured with a breakaway try after being outplayed for most of the international.
The Springboks have won seven Tests in Argentina since 1993, their 39-7 victory in Buenos Aires seven years ago the biggest victory margin.
Springboks: Willie le Roux; Bjorn Basson, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw; Juandre Kruger, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Siya Kolisi, Jano Vermaak, Patrick Lambie, Jan Serfontein.
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