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Springbok Watch: Players in the Spotlight v Argentina

Quintin van Jaarsveld identifies the Springbok players who’ll be in the spotlight in the Rugby Championship finale against Argentina in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Springbok Players Spotlight Argentina

Quintin van Jaarsveld identifies the Springbok players who’ll be in the spotlight in the Rugby Championship finale against Argentina in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Marvin Orie

Orie did a serviceable job on the end-of-year tour last season, but for my money, he hasn’t locked down his place in the World Cup squad (no pun intended). 

With RG Snyman having finally kicked his injury curse (touch wood), Orie is very much on the bubble, especially with the likes of hybrids Franco Mostert and Pieter-Steph du Toit adding additional second-row cover. 

Thus, the encounter at Ellis Park is a chance for the Perpignan-bound 30-year-old to prove why he should be considered undeniable. 

Marco van Staden

Van Staden could not have made a bigger statement than he did against the Wallabies in the opening round. 

He enjoyed an absolute blinder, which ended up leaving a lasting impression due to Kwagga Smith’s underwhelming showing in Auckland the following week.

A similar all-action performance this weekend would do Van Staden’s World Cup hopes as a fringe player the world of good.

Grant Williams

Williams is unlike the three men ahead of him in the Springbok scrumhalf pecking order in that he’s a danger man and speed demon extraordinaire. 

The Sharks star commands the attention of pillar defenders and the doubts he sows in defenders’ minds with his unpredictability creates more time on the ball and space elsewhere. 

The make-up of this weekend’s team is very much an attacking one, which plays to his strengths and tees him up to really stake his case for a place in the World Cup squad in his first Test start. 

Of course, the Boks won’t run from everywhere and much of his report card will come down to the accuracy of his box kicking, which is usually – as of the last few years – the primary duty of the Bok No 9. 

Kurt-Lee Arendse

Arendse’s selection is surprising, not because it’s not warranted. Quite the opposite. Everything he’s touched on the Test stage has turned to gold, including scoring a hat-trick last time out against Australia.

Makazole Mapimpi, meanwhile, was unable to get out of his slump against the All Blacks, failing to fire a shot and making some basic mistakes. 

It’s Arendse’s pairing with Cheslin Kolbe that makes his return surprising. The Boks won’t dare field the pair of pocket rockets in tandem against the likes of Ireland, France and New Zealand as it would leave the back three unbalanced, but it’s exciting that they’re being backed against the Pumas.

On top of the treat of getting to watch two wizards at work, it’ll serve as an interesting test run to see how they cope on the defensive side of things, including under the high ball. 

Jesse Kriel

For a player who made his Springbok debut all the way back in 2015 and is set to run out in his 60th Test, it’s quite something that Kriel is still a decisive presence in the national squad among South African supporters. 

Many, if not the majority, still don’t see why he’s so highly rated by the Bok coaches. The overwhelming opinion is that he doesn’t bring anything special to the table – that he won’t let the team down but adds little in the same breath.

While he’s assured of his place on the plane to France, this is an opportunity for Kriel to show that he’s more than just dependable. 

Springbok team to face Argentina: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Grant Williams, 8  Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Lukhanyo Am, 23 Damian Willemse.

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    Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at SARugby.com and senior staff writer at Rugby365.com, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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