Alberts in at 8 for Daniel


The Springbok team preparing for the second Castle Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday received a huge boost when Bryan Habana was declared fit to start on Wednesday.

Habana, the most experienced member of the squad with 78 Tests for South Africa, injured his left ankle against Argentina in Cape Town last weekend and passed a fitness test on Wednesday morning. That means the backline is unchanged from the one that beat Argentina by 27-6 at DHL Newlands.

The Springboks will start the match with a combined total of 412 Test Caps – 130 of those in the forwards and 282 in the backs.

“Having Bryan is obviously a big boost as we’ve lost a number of players with lots of experience after JP Pietersen, Pierre Spies and Bismarck du Plessis already had to withdraw from our squad,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

Upfront there are two changes and positional shift. Adriaan Strauss replaces the injured Bismarck du Plessis at hooker and takes over the vice-captaincy, while Jacques Potgieter is promoted from the bench to start at blindside flank. Willem Alberts moves to No 8 with Keegan Daniel on the bench.

New alongside Daniel on the bench is Tiaan Liebenberg (hooker), who will make his Springbok Test debut if he gets game time as a replacement.

Two forwards who were doubtful earlier in the week, Andries Bekker (lock) and Marcell Coetzee (flank), both passed fitness tests. Bekker left the field at DHL Newlands with an ankle injury and Coetzee suffered a slight twinge to his groin at training earlier in the week.

“It was a difficult decision between Jacques and Keegan, but we have gone with horses for courses this time,” said Meyer.

“We’re expecting it will be very physical early in the game and it might open up later, which perfectly suits the strongpoints of both Jacques and Keegan.

“The Pumas also mauled quite well in Cape Town and we were not happy with the defence of their mauls, so with the extra weight Jacques brings, we will have to ensure we stop their drives.

“Argentina played a very physical game in Cape Town – as we expected – and they will step it up this weekend in front of their home fans. It will be a very tough Test and we need to be 100% switched on.”

The Springbok team to face Argentina in Mendoza is:

Position Name Province Test Caps
15 Zane Kirchner Vodacom Blue Bulls 16
14 Bryan Habana DHL Western Province 78
13 Jean de Villiers (captain) DHL Western Province 76
12 Frans Steyn The Sharks 50
11 Lwazi Mvovo The Sharks 5
10 Morné Steyn Vodacom Blue Bulls 38
9 Francois Hougaard Vodacom Blue Bulls 19
8 Willem Alberts The Sharks 12
7 Jacques Potgieter Vodacom Blue Bulls 2
6 Marcell Coetzee The Sharks 4
5 Andries Bekker DHL Western Province 25
4 Eben Etzebeth DHL Western Province 4
3 Jannie du Plessis The Sharks 34
2 Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain) Toyota FS Cheetahs 13
1 Tendai Mtawarira The Sharks 36
16 Tiaan Liebenberg DHL Western Province 0
17 Pat Cilliers MTN Golden Lions 1
18 Flip van der Merwe Vodacom Blue Bulls 15
19 Keegan Daniel The Sharks 4
20 Ruan Pienaar Ulster, N Ireland 55
21 Pat Lambie The Sharks 13
22 JJ Engelbrecht Vodacom Blue Bulls 1
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  1. I am surprised the naysayers have not come to proclaim doom and gloom yet…

    To be honest Potgieter DID have a great impact off the bench on Saturday… far more than Daniel and was far more involved in the ruck, tackle and break down areas with clean outs and sealing ball off. With Andries Bekker in the side one needs a loose forward to fulfil that role…

  2. I just don’t know how irritating watching
    this test on TV will be.
    Argies do it soccer style.
    Maybe they have learned a bit . . .

  3. Good side… still not convinced some have what it takes to be the best in their position and take the Boks up a place in the world rankings by beating Aus and NZ… ie Daniels, Flip, Potgieter, Cilliers to name but a few…

    Why are they… a forward’s nation… still so bare at TH/LH?

    Should Habs be risked starting against the Argies? Is JDP going to be played into the ground… if he’s injured then kiss the AUS/AB games away? The same could be said for Beast with no Oosthuizen nor Steenkamp in the wings?

    Going to be a tough game (ask France a few weeks back)… but I’m hoping to see a bit more cohesion amongst the pack at the rucks on own and opposition ball… and so to amongst the backs… Bok’s defence was superb last week…

  4. Reply to Jacques(Bunny) @ 8:21 pm:

    When you look at the Wobblies and the AB’s… their entire back 3 has ‘X factor’… apart from Habs (who is more than likely playing with niggles) Boks do not have an Ione, Dagg, Beale, Jane, Salvi etc…

    Although it must be said Aplon, JPP and Basson are injured…

  5. Article says: Boks must up by 50%.

    Ja well. Only good rugby I’ve seen from
    them was that first 25 minutes of, was
    it the second test, vs. the Poms.
    Suppose the coaching staff told them to
    put that behind them immediately and start
    thinking “traditional approach.”

  6. Reply to Boertjie @ 3:17 pm:

    I think we need to consider that the cupboard is pretty bare.

    Six of last year’s top choice players have retired:
    Smit, Matfield, Botha, Russouw, Du Preez, Fourie.

    Five of last year’s top choice players are injured and out for the season:
    Bismarck, Brussow, Burger, Spies, Pietersen.

    Which means, Meyer is pretty close to starting with a new team, but A number of second choice players from last year is also injured or not available anymore:
    Ralepele, F Louw, Kankowski, Olivier, Basson.

    Which means the Boks have no depth either.

    On top of that there is only one new player (Coetzee) of the year that has shown real promise.

    Forget about any flashy play for now. This Bok team does not have enough talent for that. What Meyer is working on is a game plan to beat the Argies and win the other home games.
    Second place in TRC and a good showing on the NH tour in November would be a good first season.