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Title-seeking Springboks change front row for Pumas

South Africa have changed their entire front row as they seek a bonus-point win in Argentina Saturday that would clinch their first Rugby Championship title.

South Africa's head coach Rassie Erasmus speaks to the media in a post-match presser after the Rugby Championship match between New Zealand and South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on 27 July 2019. Picture: AFP

BUENOS AIRES - South Africa have changed their entire front row as they seek a bonus-point win in Argentina Saturday that would clinch their first Rugby Championship title.

Props Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira and Trevor Nyakane and hooker Bongi Mbonambi have been promoted with Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and hooker Malcolm Marx benched.

The changes for the Salta Test are the continuation of a rotational system with Mtawarira, Mbonambi and Nyakane beginning in a home win over Australia last month.

Kitshoff, Marx and Malherbe began the drawn Test away to World Cup trophy-holders New Zealand the following weekend.

There are no other alterations to the matchday 23 as the Springboks seek to win a competition that has been dominated by New Zealand with six titles while Australia came first once.

"This Test is a good opportunity for Bongi and Trevor to start next to the 'Beast', who has a wealth of experience from playing more than 100 Tests," said coach Rassie Erasmus.

"We all know about the massively difficult forward threat of Argentina," he said of opponents who have recalled fit-again hooker Agustin Creevy for the Test.

"However, they are also a clever side with skill and pace out wide so we will have to be alert on defence right until the final whistle.

"The Pumas are a very difficult team to play at home and they will be fired up for this one in front of their passionate crowd in Salta," warned Erasmus.

Northwestern city Salta has hosted the teams three times with the Springboks winning twice and the Pumas once.

South Africa lead the Rugby Championship with seven points after two rounds, New Zealand have six, Australia four and Argentina two.

Traditionally a two-round competition, it has been reduced to a single round this year because the Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan.

South Africa are in Pool B with defending champions New Zealand, Italy, Canada and Namibia while Argentina will face England, France, Tonga and the United States in Pool C.

South Africa (15-1)

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, François Steyn, Jesse Kriel

Coach: Rassie Erasmus (RSA)

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