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FEATURED

The Rugby Championship round one preview

PUBLISHED: August 16, 2012



South Africa versus Argentina at DHL Newlands, Cape Town.

The Pumas will make their debut into the Southern Hemisphere’s elite tournament in the historic surroundings of Cape Town, with the Springboks hosting the South Americans at one of their greatest stadiums.

Indeed, by the time Argentina played their first international match in 1910, Newlands was in the midst of hosting its fourth match against the British Isles (later the Lions), with the famous stadium first hosting the famous tourists in 1891.

It is the Pumas first match in Cape Town, and a rivalry will continue between the two nations that is barely older than professionalism itself.

In 1993 the Springboks played Argentina for the first time in Buenos Aires, and the 29-26 win to the tourists is the second closest score line between the sides – with South Africa unbeaten against this weekend’s opponents in 13 test matches.

For South African rugby an important chapter begins, playing their Southern Hemisphere opposition for the first time since the Rugby World Cup, which saw coach Peter de Villiers draw the curtain down on his career, and since then former Bulls mentor Heyneke Meyer has been putting his stamp on the side.

If there is one team however that could withstand the Springboks expected frontal assault it would be the Pumas, although with a hint of irony their ability to match the heavyweights throughout the tournament may come from stepping out of their comfort zone.

Classical forward displays, ten-man rugby or educated tactical kicking may be hallmarks of Argentine rugby, but as World Cup winning coach Sir Graham Henry said to Pumas coach Santiago Phelan, The Rugby Championship new boys will need more than one string to their bow.

With Juan Martin Hernandez pulling the strings for the visitors at flyhalf, aided with the talents of Horacio Agulla and Gonzalo Camacho on the wings, the Pumas will have plenty of options if their pack matches the Springboks.

While some question Morne Steyn’s form, the likes of Frans Steyn and Jean de Villiers ensure that their is plenty of talent in the back division of a South African team that so far has heavily relied on their goliaths up front this season.

MATCH DETAILS:

South Africa versus Argentina (14th test)
DHL Newlands
Cape Town, South Africa
Kick off (17:00 local, 15:00 GMT, Sun 19 Aug 03:00 NZT, Sun 19 Aug 01:00 NSW/ACT, 12:00 ARG)
Referee: S. Walsh (ARU)
AR: J. Garces (FFR)
AR: J. Lacey (IRFU)
TMO: J. Meuwsen (SARU)

HEAD TO HEAD:

Played 13: South Africa 13, Argentina 0
Last match: South Africa 63 – 9 Argentina @ Ellis Park, Johannesburg (9 August, 2008)

South Africa record at Newlands: Played 48, Won 32, Lost 14, Drawn 2
South Africa record at home: Played 218, Won 149, Lost 56, Drawn 13

Argentina record at Newlands: DEBUT MATCH
Argentina record away from home: Played 110, Won 42, Lost 66, Drawn 2

Point’s aggregate: South Africa 544, Argentina 272 (42-21)
Tries aggregate: South Africa 70, Argentina 26 (5-2)

RECENT MATCHES:

South Africa 14 – 14 England (3rd test June tour)
South Africa 36 – 27 England (2nd test June tour)
South Africa 22 – 17 England (1st test June tour)
South Africa 9 – 11 Australia (RWC QF)
South Africa 13 – 5 Samoa (RWC Pool)

Argentina 31 – 17 Stade Francais (friendly)
Argentina 21 – 25 Stade Francais (friendly)
Argentina 10 – 49 France (3rd test June tour)
Argentina 23 – 20 France (2nd test June tour)
Argentina 37 – 22 Italy (1st test June tour)

TEAMS:

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7
Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements : 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.