Argentina v South Africa: Everything you need to know

Updated: 

A much-changed Argentina side will be expected to deliver a significantly improved performance when they host South Africa in round two of the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

The Springboks eased to a 37-15 victory in last weekend's reverse fixture in Port Elizabeth, prompting Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade to make six changes.

Juan Martin Hernandez and Tomas Cubelli will form a new half-back pairing for the Pumas high above sea level in Salta, while Lucas Noguera, Ramiro Herrera, Matias Alemanno and Juan Manuel Leguizamon come in to the pack.

South Africa's only alteration is enforced - Francois Hougaard replacing the injured Ross Cronje (ankle) at scrum-half.

"Francois has played a lot of Test match rugby, his work ethic is second to none and he has been working hard up to now since joining the squad," said Springboks coach Allister Coetzee.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Argentina: 2
South Africa: 22 
Draw: 1

 

KEY PLAYERS

Juan Martin Hernandez (Argentina): Hourcade's decision to drop last week's starting half-backs, Martin Landajo and Nicolas Sanchez, means much responsibility will fall on their replacements. The vastly experienced Hernandez, now 35, is unlikely to be fazed by the pressure on his shoulders.

Eben Etzebeth (South Africa): The Springboks' pack dominated the Pumas in Port Elizabeth. At high altitude, Etzebeth will play a key role in ensuring his side provide sufficient physicality once again.

 

THE LINE-UPS

Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet, Ramiro Moyano, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Emiliano Boffelli, Juan Martin Hernandez, Tomas Cubelli; Lucas Noguera, Agustin Creevy (captain), Ramiro Herrera, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lezana, Juan Manuel Leguizamon.

South Africa: Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Francois Hougaard; Tendai Mtawarira, Malcolm Marx, Coenie Oosthuizen, Eben Etzebeth (captain), Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Uzair Cassiem.

 

PRE-MATCH TALK

"To beat South Africa, we have to play almost perfect rugby," said recalled Argentina number eight Leguizamon. "It will be very important for the forwards to impose ourselves in the maul, in the ruck, in the scrum, in the line."

South Africa coach Allister Coetzee said: "Our approach and preparation will be just the same as when we prepared for all our home Tests, and to control whatever we can control. We must again show patience, hunger and the desire to execute our gameplan."

 

OPTA STATS

- Last week's 37-15 triumph represented South Africa's biggest win over the Pumas since 2013. The Springboks have won 22 of their 25 matches against Argentina (D1, L2).

- Argentina won their last home meeting against South Africa, securing a 26-24 victory in August 2016.

- The Pumas have lost four of their last five matches in Argentina, their only win in that run coming against Georgia. However, the Springboks have not won away from home since beating Argentina 24-13 at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, losing six in a row since then.

- Tomas Lavanini made 15 tackles in the opening round, the equal-most of any player who did not miss with a single attempt. New Zealand skipper Kieran Read also managed 15 out of 15.