Etzebeth glad to be paired with Kruger

The Boks take on Argentina as part of Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day.

FILE: Young Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth during a training session in Cape Town on 13 August 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth says he is looking forward to pairing up with Juandre Kruger again.

Etzebeth and Kruger have been the preferred Bok lock pairing since last year.

The Boks take on Argentina in their first Rugby Championship game for the season on Saturday as part of Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day.

The Springboks and Bafana Bafana will play at the same venue on the same day for the first time.

Etzebeth says he has a good understanding with Kruger.

"Juandre and I actually made our test debuts last year against England. We played most of the tests last year together. So I think it's [building] off continuity."

Argentina lost 27-6 to the Springboks in Cape Town last year.

In their most recent meeting last year, the teams drew 16-16 in Mendoza.

Etzebeth says they are expecting Argentina to be stiffer opponents this time round.

"I think they were quite good last year in their first Rugby Championship tournament. I think we're definitely up for a good game but we'll bring our best."

Etzebeth says the weight of the locks and flanks will be key in the scrums.

Looking ahead to the test, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said it was a "marvellous occasion" and it was "special to be part of a unique day where we can all celebrate the contributions former President Mandela made to South Africa".

"I think it was clear last year that the Argentinians are not in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship to make up the numbers, which means we will have to be focused on doing the little things right. They've been together for a few weeks now and will be a tough opponent on Saturday.

"We've now done the hard work on the training pitch and I can see the players are keen to get back onto the field for a test. Now we need to put into practice what we've been working on and continue where we left off against Samoa, looking for try-scoring opportunities in the process."

All proceeds of the event will go to the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital.

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