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Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Springboks look ready to take the spoils again in Salta

Hernandez key as Argentina bid to rattle their visitors

Juan Martin Hernandez lines up at fly-half for Argentina
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Rugby Championship
Sky Main Event & Action, 8.40pm Saturday

South Africa opened their Rugby Championship campaign with an impressive home victory against Argentina but they know they face a tougher test when they take on the Pumas in Salta.

The Springboks suffered a two-point defeat at the venue last year while they edged it by a similar margin on their previous visit in 2014.

The good news for the Boks is that their set-piece was in good order in last week’s encounter and they should have no fears of being overpowered up front.

But home coach Daniel Hourcade has rung the changes, notably in the half-backs, and the South Africans will need cool heads and composure in an intimidating atmosphere.

Tomas Cubelli comes in at scrum-half while the seasoned and talented Juan Martin Hernandez earns his 69th cap wearing the number ten shirt, and his selection suggests the Boks backline could be in for some serious aerial bombardment as the Pumas look to establish a foothold in the opposition half.

But Hernandez is not only about the boot as he has the vision and distribution to get the best out of a lively backline so long as they can get off the back foot.

South Africa have had to make changes too, notably with Worcester's Francois Hougaard starting at scrum-half in place of the injured Ross Cronje, but they have a clear edge in terms of confidence after last week's efficient performance.

Argentina should put in a more physical performance fired on by a passionate home crowd but there's a fine balance to be struck as they gave away too many penalties in Port Elizabeth.

If they can overcome their shortcomings they should play their part in what could be a high-scoring game, but South Africa look the value bet to take the spoils.

Recommendation
South Africa to win by one to 12 points
1pt 11-5 Ladbrokes

The South Africans will need cool heads and composure in an intimidating atmosphere.
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