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 Saturday’s return Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Salta.
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 with Vincent Koch drafted in by coach Allister Coetzee for the injured Julian Redelinghuys in the only change to the starting line-up from South Africa’s 30-23 defeat of the Pumas last weekend in their championship opener in Nelspruit.
Lourens Adriaanse has been added as prop cover on the bench, while experienced five-eighth 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 on Wednesday in statement from the South African Rugby Union.
“We expect them to try and put us under pressure with their tactical kicking. Morn is an experienced player with good kicking attributes, and he will provide an additional kicking cover for us.”
New Boks coach Coetzee said he resisted more changes as tried to knit the side together after a patchy 2-1 home victory over Ireland in the June internationals and a wobbly home win over Argentina.
“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 on Friday morning for Salta.
Team: Johan Goosen, Ruan Combrink, Lionel Mapoe, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Warren Whiteley, Oupa Mahoje, Francois Louw, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Tendai Mtawarira. Res: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Lourens Adriaanse, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaco Kriel, Rudy Paige, Morne Steyn, Jesse Kriel.