“Beast” Mtawarira to equal Bok prop record
Aug 24 South Africa’s Tendai Mtawarira will equal two-time World Cup winner Os du Randt’s record as most-capped prop for the Springboks after being named in the starting line-up for the Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Salta on Saturday.
Zimbabwe-born Mtawarira, affectionately known as “The Beast”, a name chanted each time he touches the ball, will earn his 80th cap, having made his debut in 2008.
He will have a new front-row partner after Vincent Koch was drafted in by coach Allister Coetzee for the injured Julian Redelinghuys in what is the only change to the starting line-up from the side that defeated Argentina 30-23 in their championship opener in Nelspruit last weekend.
Lourens Adriaanse has been added as prop cover on the bench, while experienced flyhalf Morne Steyn also takes over from centre Juan de Jongh among the replacements.
“Vincent did very well when he came on as a replacement for Julian in Nelspruit, and he is rewarded with a starting berth,” Coetzee said in statement from the South African Rugby Union on Wednesday.
“We expect them to try and put us under pressure with their tactical kicking. Morné is an experienced player with good kicking attributes, and he will provide an additional kicking cover for us.”
New Bok coach Coetzee said he resisted more changes as tries to knit the side together after a patchy 2-1 home victory over Ireland in the June internationals and a wobbly opening win in the Rugby Championship last weekend.
“We will continue to build on our cohesion as a team. This is the first away test for this side and we expect another huge battle against the Pumas,” he said.
The Boks will continue with their preparations in Buenos Aires before flying out to Salta on Friday morning. Team: 15-Johan Goosen, 14-Ruan Combrink, 13-Lionel Mapoe, 12-Damian de Allende, 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Elton Jantjies, 9-Faf de Klerk; 8-Warren Whiteley, 7-Oupa Mahoje, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Lood de Jager, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Vincent Koch, 2-Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1-Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16-Bongi Mbonambi, 17-Steven Kitshoff, 18-Lourens Adriaanse, 19-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20-Jaco Kriel, 21-Rudy Paige, 22-Morne Steyn, 23-Jesse Kriel. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Alison Williams)