South Africa Rugby ‘springboks’ have named a much-changed team for their opening game of the Rugby Championship, against Argentina, in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Hooker Joseph Dweba will make his Springbok bow in one of 12 tweaks to the matchday squad that won the third Test against the British & Irish Lions.
Jacques Nienaber makes 10 changes to his starting side, which features a fresh backline and front-row, and two changes on the bench. With Argentina expected to pose a serious physical challenge, the Springbok coach opts for a six-two split amongst the replacements.
The changes to the pack of forwards see Ox Nché – who has recovered from his neck injury – and Wilco Louw (both props) join forces with Dweba in the front-row, replacing Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi respectively, while Kwagga Smith replaces Franco Mostert at blindside flank in a loose trio with Kolisi and Wiese.
Elton Jantjies starts at fly-half in a half-back pairing with Reinach, replacing Handré Pollard, while Frans Steyn and Jesse Kriel will join forces in the midfield in place of Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.
The other changes in the backline sees Damian Willemse replace Willie le Roux at full-back, while Sbu Nkosi and Aphelele Fassi – who made his Springbok debut against Georgia last month – will start at wing in place of Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi respectively.
On the replacements bench, Marvin Orie and Dan du Preez have been drafted in to provide cover at lock and loose forward respectively, while the two backline replacements are Herschel Jantjies (scrum-half) and Morné Steyn (fly-half).
South Africa Rugby: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ox Nché
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Dan du Preez, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Morné Steyn
Date: Saturday, August 14
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 17:05 local (16:05 BST, 15:05 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Tom Foley (Wales)