The Springboks will have to up their game against “rugby powerhouse” Argentina if they want to start the Rugby Championship with a win at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit today (5.05pm).
After losing his first Test in charge of the national team against Ireland earlier this year, coach Allister Coetzee is wary of the Pumas’ strong pack.
But while they are basically fielding a Jaguares side, who bombed out in Super Rugby, Coetzee believes his team will be in for a tough challenge.
He explains: “We’ve got to improve in a big way, not just little improvements.
“They [Argentina] are a world force in rugby, not just a team that is growing – they are not learning. They were in the semifinals of the last two World Cups.
“They are a powerhouse and we will be facing a massive forward onslaught, starting with the scrummaging, from them… it’s going to be a battle at the setpiece.
“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got quality backs out there, we give them good possession and they will finish.”
Coetzee wasted no time in bringing back his overseas internationals, including Johan Goosen and Bryan Habana, in the starting XV.
The coach likens Goosen to All Blacks pivot Beauden Barrett – a versatile player that can change the game.
Of the fullback, Coetzee says: “When people watch New Zealand rugby, they look at Beauden Barrett and they say: ‘Jee, this guy slots in anywhere – at fullback or 10’.
“We’ve got a similar type of player in Johan Goosen, who is really quick off the mark, he’s got unbelievable running skills, aerial skills second to none and he kicks the ball a mile.
“So I’m really happy to have selected Johan at 15 and I’m looking forward to him playing at 15 for us this weekend.”
Up front, Coetzee opted for Oupa Mohoje as blindside flanker, with prop Julian Redelinghuys also earning a start ahead of Vincent Koch.