Vincent Koch earns Springbok start in Salta

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  • Tendai Mtawarira to reach record-equalling 80th Test cap
  • Top points’ scorer against Argentina, Morné Steyn, on the bench

Vincent Koch will replace the injured Julian Redelinghuys in the only change to the Springboks’ starting fifteen to face Argentina on Saturday in Salta, as Tendai Mtawarira will equal Os du Randt’s record as most-capped prop for South Africa.

Koch, who has three Test caps to his name, comes in for Redelinghuys who has been ruled out of action with a hamstring injury he sustained in the first Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test in Nelspruit on Saturday, won by the Boks by 30-23.

With Koch drafted into the starting line-up, Lourens Adriaanse moves onto the bench to as one of the two replacement props for what could be his second Springbok cap.

Also amongst the replacements, the Springboks have opted for the experienced Morné Steyn, who will give the team an extra kicking-option, in place of Juan de Jongh.

The rest of the Springbok line-up remains unchanged from the one that defeated the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium. In keeping changes to a minimum, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has opted for continuity against a Pumas side that will be lifted by their passionate home support.

“Vincent did very well when he came on as a replacement for Julian in Nelspruit, and he is rewarded with a starting berth, while we believe it would be good to give Lourens an opportunity on the bench at this stage,” said Coetzee.

“We expect them to try and put us under pressure with their tactical kicking. Morné is an experienced player with good kicking attributes, and he will provide an additional kicking cover for us.

“We will continue to build on our cohesion as a team. This is the first away Test for this side and we expect another huge battle against the Pumas.”

The Springboks will continue with their preparations in Buenos Aires before flying out to Salta on Friday morning.


The Springbok team to face Argentina in Nelspruit:

Position Name Franchise / Province / Club Test Caps Test points
15 Johan Goosen Racing 92 (France) 7 13
14 Ruan Combrinck Emirates Lions 3 13
13 Lionel Mapoe Emirates Lions 5 0
12 Damian De Allende DHL Stormers 17 10
11 Bryan Habana Toulon (France) 118 320
10 Elton Jantjies Emirates Lions 6 51
9 Faf de Klerk Emirates Lions 4 0
8 Warren Whiteley Emirates Lions 7 10
7 Oupa Mohoje Toyota Cheetahs 9 0
6 Francois Louw Bath (England) 47 40
5 Lood de Jager Toyota Cheetahs 21 20
4 Eben Etzebeth DHL Stormers 48 10
3 Vincent Koch Steval Pumas / DHL Stormers 3 0
2 Adriaan Strauss (captain) Vodacom Bulls 58 30
1 Tendai Mtawarira Cell C Sharks 79 10
16 Bongi Mbonambi DHL Stormers 1 0
17 Steven Kitshoff Bordeaux (France) 2 0
18 Lourens Adriaanse Cell C Sharks 1 0
19 Pieter-Steph du Toit DHL Stormers 12 10
20 Jaco Kriel Emirates Lions 2 0
21 Rudy Paige Vodacom Bulls 3 0
22 Morné Steyn Stade Francais (France) 61 694
23 Jesse Kriel Vodacom Bulls 13 15

Stats and facts:

The team and Milestones:

  • The total Test caps in the starting line-up is 432 – 160 caps in the backline with 272 among the forwards. The combined Test caps of those on the bench is 95. The average caps per player for the 23 is 19.
  • Adriaan Strauss will be captaining the side for the fifth time in his 59th
  • The youngest player in the 23 man squad is Jesse Kriel (22y, 5m) while the oldest member of the team is Bryan Habana (33y, 2m).
  • The tallest player in the squad is Lood de Jager (2.05m), the shortest is Faf de Klerk (1.72m), the heaviest is Steven Kitshoff (125kg) and the lightest is Faf de Klerk (80kg).
  • The following players will play in their fifth consecutive Test in the starting XV under Allister Coetzee: Lionel Mapoe, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Francois Louw, Eben Etzebeth, Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira.
  • For 60% of the squad it will be a first visit to Argentina to play in a Championship Test match. Lourens Adriaanse and Bongi Mbonambi are the two players who have not faced Argentina in a Test match yet.
  • Bryan Habana is the most capped Springbok (13 Tests) as well as the top try scorer (7) for South Africa against Argentina while Morné Steyn is the top points scorer with 15 conversions and 16 penalty goals for a total of 78 career points in only six appearances against the Pumas.
  • Bryan Habana, Eben Etzebeth, Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira are the only players that played in all eight Castle Lager Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina since they joined the tournament in 2012.
  • Brian Habana needs one try to extend his own tournament career record to 20 which will be 100 tournament career points. One try will also extend his own World record for most test tries as a wing to 65. He needs two appearances in this tournament to reach 50 tournament appearances.
  • Eben Etzebeth will play in his 26th consecutive Test match.
  • Tendai Mtawarira will play in his 80th Test match thereby equalling Os du Randt’s record for most Test matches as a prop for the Springboks.
  • Morné Steyn needs six points to reach 700 career points in Test matches. He also needs six successful penalty goals to equal Percy Montgomery’s career record of 148 penalty goals in Test matches. Only two points will bring his Castle Lager Rugby Championship career points to 350. He is also co-record holder with four drop goals in his Rugby Championship career, with Dan Carter of New Zealand and fellow Springbok André Pretorius.
  • Possible Castle Lager Rugby Championship debuts for Bongi Mbonambi, Lourens Adriaanse and Rudy Paige, should they be used off the bench.

Head to head:

  • South Africa and Argentina will play in their ninth encounter since Argentina joined the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in 2012. Of the previous eight, South Africa won six with one match drawn and a loss in Durban last year, the first ever loss against Argentina.
  • The record is as follows: Played 8, Won 6, Lost 1, Drawn 1, Points for 239, Points against 149, Tries for 24, Tries against 13, Average score 30-19.

Match officials:

  • The match officials for this match are: Referee – Jérôme Garcès (France); Assistant referees – Glen Jackson (New Zealand) and Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) with the TMO Glenn Newman (New Zealand).
  • It will be Garcès’ eighth appearance as referee in Test matches involving South Africa. Of the previous seven Tests, the Springboks lost four and won three.

The stadium:

  • Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena’s seating capacity is 20 408. The Springbok’s only played here once before in 2014. They narrowly won the match 33-31 with Morné Steyn slotting a penalty goal in the 77th The 33 points are the most in three Castle Lager Rugby Championship Tests in Argentina.
  • The scorers on that occasion were: Tries – Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks and Marcell Coetzee. Conversions – Handré Pollard and Morné Steyn (2). Penalty goals: Pollard (3) and Steyn.

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