Rugby Championship: South Africa makes 10 changes to starting XV against Argentina

GQEBERHA, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 10: Siya Kolisi during the South African men's national rugby team training session at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on August 10, 2021 in Gqeberha, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

A much-changed Springboks side will take to the field for South Africa’s opening match against Argentina in the Rugby Championship at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Joseph Dweba will make his debut at hooker as part of 10 changes to the starting team, which features an all-new backline and front row. Overall, 12 changes were made to the entire squad with two changes on the replacements bench.

Siya Kolisi during the South African men’s national rugby team training session at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on August 10, 2021 in Gqeberha, South Africa. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Only five players retain their place in the starting XV that faced the British & Irish Lions in the deciding Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Japer Wiese and Cobus Reinach are in line to start against Los Pumas.

Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber said the team was looking forward to seeing what the new player combinations will deliver against a side that poses a serious physical challenge.

“It is a long season, so it’s important that we manage the players well and rotate our squad to ensure that everyone gets sufficient game time and rest,” Nienaber said.

“We have a talented squad, and we are excited to see some of the players get a chance to show what they can do against a tough Argentinean outfit.”

The reigning world champions will play Argentina twice on August 14 and 21 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium before flying out to Australasia for the remainder of the tournament.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions most of the tournament will be staged in Australia and New Zealand.

South Africa did not participate in last year’s Rugby Championship due to COVID-19 resulting in a temporarily altered format of a Tri-Nations tournament which New Zealand won.