Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks replace front row against Argentina

South Africa have named a new front row for their Rugby Championship showdown with Argentina in Salta on Saturday, as they seek a first title in the competition since 2009.

Hooker Bongi Mbonambi, and props Trevor Nyakane and Tendai Mtawarira will pack down at the front of the scrum in place of Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe respectively.

The latter trio have all been named on the bench and are the only changes to the starting line-up by coach Rassie Erasmus from the 16-16 draw against New Zealand in Wellington two weeks ago.

Mtawarira will make his 53rd appearance in the Rugby Championship to equal the record of former winger Bryan Habana for South Africa - his 110th test overall.

"This test is a good opportunity for Bongi and Trevor to start next to 'Beast' [Mtawarira], who has a wealth of experience," says Erasmus.

"We all know about the massively difficult forward threat of Argentina, however they are a clever side with skill and pace out wide, so we will have to be alert on defence right until the final whistle."

Duane Vermeulen will captain the team from the No.8 position, with former sevens exponent Kwagga Smith retaining his place on the flank.

Handre Pollard will marshal the backline at first-five, while halfback Faf de Klerk has recovered from a suspected concussion he picked up in Wellington.

Experienced fullback Willie le Roux, and wingers Cheslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi make up the back three.

South Africa lead the Rugby Championship table by a point from New Zealand and would lift the title with a bonus-point victory in Salta, providing a significant boost going into the World Cup in Japan starting next month.

But if New Zealand don't get full points against Australia in Perth, then a victory of any sort will see the Boks lift the trophy in a competition shortened to three rounds due to the World Cup.

The Boks face Argentina again in Pretoria on August 17 in a one-off test, before heading to Japan.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen (capt), Pieter Steph du Toit, Kwagga Smith, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Herschel Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jesse Kriel.

Reuters

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