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Hougaard the only change for Boks

Hougaard will make his 44th Test appearance for the Springboks. He replaces the injured Ross Cronje, who sustained an ankle injury in the Springboks’ triumph over the Pumas last weekend.

Francois Hougaard during a Springbok training session. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Experienced scrumhalf Francois Hougaard is the only change to the Springbok starting XV for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Salta.

Hougaard will make his 44th Test appearance for the Springboks. He replaces the injured Ross Cronje, who sustained an ankle injury in the Springboks’ 37-15 triumph over the Pumas last weekend in Port Elizabeth. Rudy Paige takes Hougaard's place on the bench.

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, said that while the loss of Cronje is a big blow to the team, the Boks are in the fortunate position to call on the services of the very experienced Hougaard.

"Francois has played a lot of Test match rugby. His work ethic is second to none and he has been working hard since joining the squad. Rudy made a good impact in the third Test against France and I expect the same from him this weekend."

According to the Springbok coach, the entire matchday 23 played well in Port Elizabeth, making it easy to announce just the one forced change in a week that the team has a short turnaround due to the travel to South America. The consistent team selection also allows the Springboks to continue with their processes and keep building on their continuity.

Coetzee also pointed to the healthy competition for places in the team.

"The players outside of the matchday 23 squad are all knocking on the door and that is a great position to be in."

Coetzee said the Springboks must deliver an even better performance in Salta, where a fierce Pumas challenge is expected.

"This is going to be a different challenge but I have no doubt the players will benefit and grow from every tough experience," said the Springbok coach.

The two teams have met twice in Salta before – in 2014, Jean de Villiers’ Springboks clinched a narrow 33-31 win over the Pumas at the high altitude venue, and in 2016 the Pumas recorded a famous 26-24 win over the South Africans.

SPRINGBOK SQUAD

  1. Andries Coetzee, 14. Raymond Rhule, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Jan Serfontein, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Francois Hougaard, 8. Uzair Cassiem, 7. Jaco Kriel, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Franco Mostert,4. Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Malcolm Marx, 1. Tendai Mtawarira
    Replacements:

  2. Bongi Mbonambi, 17. Steven Kitshoff, 18. Trevor Nyakane, 19. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20. Jean-Luc du Preez, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Curwin Bosch, 23. Damian de Allende

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