South Africa and Argentina face off for the second time in the Rugby Championship this weekend.
We take a look at the stats and facts ahead of the clash.
Although South Africa are hosting the encounter, Argentina are regarded as the home team for this match by tournament organisers SANZAAR.
South Africa have never been beaten in seven previous matches at the – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (W6, D1), including their 32-12 triumph last weekend. That defeat ended Argentina’s four-match unbeaten run.
TEAM NEWS FACTS
- The Springbok backline is the same as that which won the decisive third test against the British and Irish Lions earlier this month with Reinach joined by fly-half Pollard, centres De Allende and Lukhanyo Am, wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe and full-back Willie le Roux.
- Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg could make his Springbok debut off the bench
- Argentina coach Mario Ledesma has made six personnel and two positional changes to his starting line-up from last weekend’s defeat with only the front-row trio and centre pairing the same combinations.
- In the forwards, Matías Alemanno and Tomás Lavanini form a new second-row partnership with Guido Petti moving to openside flanker in place of Facundo Isa who drops out of the squad
- Gonzalo Bertranou and Domingo Miotti are promoted from the bench to form a new halfback pairing with Santiago Carreras moving to the left wing in a new back three with winger Juan Cruz Mallía and debutant Ignacio Mendy
- Argentina have named two uncapped players in their match-day squad in Mendy and replacement Lucio Cinti. Both won the Olympic bronze medal in rugby sevens at Tokyo 2020 a month ago to add to their Youth Olympic Games gold on home soil in 2018
- Mendy’s try proved the winner in the bronze medal match v Great Britain, securing a 17-12 victory for Los Pumas Sevens. He follows in the footsteps of his father Christian Mendy, who played 16 tests for Argentina from 1987-91 and scored a last-minute try to beat Australia 27-19 in Buenos Aires in 1987. Mendy will become Argentina’s 76th World Rugby U20 Championship graduate, second only to France’s 78 graduates.
- Cinti was an unused replacement in Argentina’s historic win over New Zealand last November
- Sánchez could join former captain Agustín Creevy (89 tests) as Argentina’s most-capped player if he comes off the bench. The fly-half is already Los Pumas’ record point-scorer with 931
- There are four Olympic bronze medallists across the two 23-man squads as Cheslin Kolbe and Kwagga Smith were part of South Africa’s squad that finished third at Rio 2016
Head to head
Played: 31 – South Africa leads 27-3 with one draw
Points for: South Africa 1,090 / Argentina 606 (Avg. score: 35-19)
Highest score: South Africa 73 (73-13 on 17 August, 2013) / Argentina 37 (37-25 on 8 August, 2015)
Biggest winning margin: South Africa 60 (73-13 on 17 August, 2013) / Argentina 13 (32-19 on 25 August, 2018)
First met: 6 November 1993 – South Africa 29-26 Argentina – Ferro Carril Oeste Stadium, Buenos Aires
Last met: 14 August, 2021 – South Africa 32-12 Argentina – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Debut as referee: 17 November, 2018 – Georgia 27-19 Samoa
Tests as referee: 4
|AR1||Marius van er Westhuizen|
• Karl Dickson makes his Rugby Championship debut as a referee
• This is the first time he has taken charge of a match featuring a Rugby Championship team
• His last test as referee was Ireland’s 39-31 win v Japan in Dublin last month
- South Africa have won 87% of their men’s Tests against Argentina (27/31) – the Springboks’ second-best win percentage against any country they have faced at least 10 times (93% v Italy).
- South Africa have lost only one of their last 30 men’s Tests in Port Elizabeth (W26, D3), a 26-9 defeat to the British & Irish Lions in July 1974; the Springboks are undefeated in their 16 Tests in the city since then (W15, D1).
- Argentina will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats in men’s Tests for the first time since September 2019, following their 32-12 loss to South Africa last time out.
- South Africa are undefeated in their last four Tests in The Rugby Championship (W3, D1) - the last time the Springboks logged a longer unbeaten run in the competition was a five-match win streak across the 2008 and 2009 Tri-Nations campaigns
- Argentina have won only one of their last 10 Tests in The Rugby Championship (D2, L7), including the 2020 Tri-Nations; it came in the form of a 25-15 victory over New Zealand in November 2020.
- South Africa have made fewer than five clean breaks in each of their last three men’s Tests, after doing soonly once in their 16 matches prior.
- Argentina collectively beat 22 defenders in Round 1 of The Rugby Championship 2021, the most by any team and three more than South Africa (19)
- Lood De Jager (South Africa) won the joint-most lineouts (incl. steals) of any player in Round 1 of the 2021 edition of The Rugby Championship (6–also Sam Whitelock) and double the tally of any Argentina player.
- Julian Montoya (Argentina) made the most tackles (13/13) of any player without missing a single attempt in Round 1 of the 2021 edition of The Rugby Championship.
- Aphelele Fassi (South Africa) has scored a try in each of his first two Tests for the Springboks, as well as providing one try assist in that time.
- The Springboks only conceded two tries to the Lions across the test series and have only seen their line breached six times in their last 12 tests
- South Africa have won their last six home matches against Los Pumas, dating back to Argentina’s 37-25 win in Durban in 2015
- Nicolás Sánchez scored all of Argentina’s points last weekend with four penalties. It is the third time in Argentina’s last eight matches that the fly-half has scored all of his side’s points, having done so in their historic 25-15 defeat of New Zealand (one converted try and six penalties) and 15-15 draw with Australia (five penalties) last November.
- Cheslin Kolbe needs one more try to earn his 10th career try and 50 points in Test matches.
- Lood de Jager will play in his 50th Test match for South Africa.
- De Jager is the fourth Springbok to reach 50 tests in 2021 after Handré Pollard, Steven Kitshoff and Damian de Allende during the British and Irish Lions series
- Marvin Orie will start in his first Test for the Springboks.
- Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg is the only uncapped player in the match-day squad.
- The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 489.
- There are 236 caps in the backline with 253 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 161 caps.
- The average caps per player in the backline are 33 the forwards 31 while the players on the bench average 20.