Connect with us


Springbok Watch: Players in the Spotlight v Argentina

Quintin van Jaarsveld identifies the Springbok players who’ll be in the spotlight in the World Cup warm-up match against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

Springbok Argentina World Cup

Quintin van Jaarsveld identifies the Springbok players who’ll be in the spotlight in the World Cup warm-up match against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

With one last chance to push for places in the 33-man World Cup squad set to be announced on Tuesday, players will be desperate to put their best foot forward in the Argentinian capital.

The following players will all be in the spotlight for this and other reasons:

Trevor Nyakane

Both Nyakane and Thomas du Toit, who’ll be starting at tighthead, will be in the spotlight as they are vying for the same World Cup spot, the all-important swing prop role. 

Both men were given 20 minutes off the bench last weekend and will go full blast from the opening minute. Nyakane has experience on his side and that he’s preferred at loosehead means he has an opportunity to make the bigger statement.

Bongi Mbonambi

It’ll be a massive occasion for the veteran hooker as he captains his country for the first time in the absence of Siya Kolisi, Duane Vermeulen and Eben Etzebeth in what will be his 60th Test.

Mbonambi’s been a great servant of South African rugby since making his Springbok debut off the bench in the 19-13 win over Ireland in Gqeberha in 2016, but his selection as captain of the experimental team comes out of left field. 

With Lukhanyo Am, who’s widely considered one of the favourites to take over the mantle from Kolisi after the World Cup, also in the starting line-up, it would’ve made more sense for the outside centre to lead the side. 

Be that as it may, Mbonambi will be a ball of energy and intensity on his big day.

Jean Kleyn

The former Irish international had a solid debut in the green and gold against the Wallabies at Loftus and has given his all in training as evidenced by the cut under his left eye that required more than a dozen stitches to close.

A second cap for his country of birth is more of a reward for his efforts over the last month than it is a chance to play himself into the World Cup squad given he’s at the bottom of the pecking order, but that won’t stop the Hoërskool Linden product from bringing the pain as the Bok enforcer of the day. 

Marvin Orie

Orie had a very quiet game in last weekend’s 22-21 win over the self-same Pumas at Ellis Park but gets another chance in the No 5 jersey to show why he should go to the World Cup. 

His running of the lineout will be especially crucial on Saturday as the experimental side needs any stability they can get to try to establish some momentum and rhythm from.   

Deon Fourie

Because he offers additional cover at hooker on top of being a honey badger of a fetcher, Fourie’s still in the World Cup mix and a standout showing on Saturday could see him force his way onto the plane to France. 

At the same time, it could be the last time we see the beloved and respected grafter, who last year became the oldest-ever Bok debutant at 35, in the green and gold, so keep a special eye on him.

Joseph Dweba

For all his brute force hustling and bustling, Dweba’s lineout throwing remains suspect, especially at Test level. 

He has the inside track to the third hooker berth but with the versatile Fourie breathing down his neck, he has to hit the target every time of asking if/when he comes on.

Gerhard Steenekamp

To say the Bulls prop‘s injury-enforced call-up to the national side came out of the blue would be disrespecting the hard work he’s put in over the last two years, but it was a surprise nonetheless considering Ntuthuko Mchunu was in the squad and made his Test debut last year. 

The Sharks front-rower’s loss is Steenekamp’s gain Steenekamp, with the 26-year-old set to become Springbok No 933 when he replaces Nyakane in the second half.

Jean-Luc du Preez

The Sale utility forward has been waiting to add to his 13 Test caps since 2018 and his patience will finally be rewarded this weekend. 

It’s not the starting opportunity he would’ve hoped for, and he probably deserved better for all his sacrifice in and out of the national setup over the last few years, but it’ll be special nonetheless and he’ll look to make the most of it.

Evan Roos

Right on the bubble of World Cup selection, the 23-year-old will be desperate to get onto the pitch and make a statement at the Pumas’ expense. 

He’ll probably have a minimum of 20 minutes to do so and is sure to make for exciting viewing. 

Herschel Jantjies

The nasty knock Grant Williams took last weekend has opened the door for Jantjies to win a 24th Test cap. 

Even a match-winning cameo is unlikely to catapult him into the World Cup squad, though, but he’ll still have a slice of the spotlight.

Springbok team to face Argentina: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Bongi Mbonambi (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse.

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 and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

More in Rugby