Francois Hougaard starts at No 9 for the Springboks. Does it change the dynamic of the Boks in any way at all?
Hougaard, a veteran of 44 Tests, is an enforced change to the Springboks starting XV for the return Rugby Championship Test against the Pumas in Salta. Springbok first choice scrum half Ross Cronje is injured. He is also the only overseas-based South African in the Bok team.
Hougaard, explosive as an athlete and in outstanding form for Worcester Warriors earlier in the year, has often threatened something special as a starting option for the Boks. Invariably the promise has not materialised into consistent performance.
Hougaard has enjoyed success as a winger and his form for the Springboks in 2011 was particularly influential. I prefer him to add a dynamic to the game in the final 30 minutes and personally think he offers a greater threat to the opposition playing in the back three.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has been true to his selection policy that a player must play himself out of the match 23, as opposed to play himself in. It explains Hougaard’s promotion ahead of third choice scrumhalf Rudi Paige, who moves into the match squad.
Coetzee has kept faith the squad that hammered Argentina 37-15 in Port Elizabeth for a match the Boks must win to keep alive their Rugby Championship prospects. The All Blacks away bonus point win against Australia in Sydney already gives the defending champions a decided edge to retain the championship, given the All Blacks have lost just one in their last 50 Tests at home.
The Boks will have to maintain their 2017 form to be successful in Salta. Last year they lost 26-24 in Salta and in 2014 sneaked a 33-31 victory.
15 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 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 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