Nienaber: Boks will get back on track

Head coach Jacques Nienaber says a new-look Springbok team are determined to “correct the wrongs” in the Rugby Championship finale against Argentina on Saturday.

Nienaber on Tuesday made nine changes to the starting XV which lost to the All Blacks in Auckland two weeks ago. Duane Vermeulen is back as captain, with a new halfback pairing that will see scrumhalf Grant Williams make his first Test start.

The back row has also been rotated and up front, hooker Malcolm Marx and lock Marvin Orie come in for Bongi Mbonambi and Lood de Jager, respectively.

In the backline, wing Kurt-Lee Arendse returns to the run-on lineup while the experienced Jesse Kriel will make his first appearance of the season in midfield. Nienaber opted for a five-three split on the bench in favour of the forwards.

“This is a quality team that will offer us the skills we need against Argentina,” the Bok coach said. “It also contains a good balance of experience and youth, which is vital as we build toward the World Cup.

“There are only four more matches before we kick off our World Cup campaign so it’s a fine balancing act to give all the players a chance to stake a claim for places while selecting teams that we believe are best equipped for the opposition we’ll face.

“The result in New Zealand was bitterly disappointing, but we came into the season with a plan that will hopefully allow us to select the best possible squad for the World Cup and peak at the right time.”

TEAM: Duane leads new-look Boks

Nienaber said the Boks are desperate to bounce back to winning ways, but has warned his charges to expect a massive physical onslaught from Argentina.

“The Pumas showed in their last two games that they can be a force to be reckoned with, so we have to be sharp from the get-go, be accurate in our execution on attack and defence, and use the opportunities we create,” he added.

“They pride themselves on their set pieces, they are very dangerous at exploiting your mistakes, and they never stop fighting which makes them a challenging opponent.

“But that said, we know where we went wrong in our last match, and we are determined to correct the wrongs from that day and get our season back on track.

“We are anticipating a hard-fought battle and we know we need to be focused for the full 80 minutes, but we are ready to go out there and give everything.”

The weekend’s match at Ellis Park marks the last for the Boks on home soil this year, with Nienaber adding: “We saw in 2019 how passionate the nation is about the Springboks and hopefully we can make this a good send-off for the team.”

Photo: @Springboks/Twitter

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