Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi will captain the side for the first time when they take on Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday. The match is the first of three Rugby World Cup warm-up games. There has been 13 changes to the starting line-up, while the 23 includes talented prop Gerhard Steenekamp, who could make his Springbok debut.

Meanwhile, Mbonambi will also earn his 60th Test cap this weekend. He takes over the captain’s responsibilities in the absence of the regular captain, Siya Kolisi. Kolisi is making encouraging progress following surgery on his knee.

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Stand-in captains Eben Etzebeth and Duane Vermeulen have remained behind in South Africa with a group of players in a conditioning camp.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber named a vastly different matchday squad to the side that defeated Argentina 22-21 at Emirates Airline Park last week. The only two players who retained their places in the starting team were flyhalf Manie Libbok and lock Marvin Orie.

Mbonambi will form a strong front row with props Trevor Nyakane and Thomas du Toit. Jean Kleyn will earn his second start in a lock combination with Orie.

Nienaber also named a physical loose trio with flankers Deon Fourie and Franco Mostert, and No 8 Jasper Wiese, while experienced scrumhalf Cobus Reinach will join forces with Libbok at halfback.

The backline also features grunt and class as Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie (both wings) and Damian Willemse (fullback) form an exciting back three, while Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am – who has been named vice-captain for the match – will pair up in the midfield.

 SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus is expected to join the squad in Argentina on Thursday after working with the group of players who remained in South Africa in the last few days.

Bongi Mbonambi to captain the Springbok team against Argentina
Bongi Mbonambi


15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 30 caps, 36 pts (2t, 4c, 4p, 2d)

14 – Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls) – 5 caps, 5 pts (1t)

13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 34 caps, 30 pts (6t)

12 – Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) – 12 caps, 0 pts

11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 37 caps, 110 pts (22t)

10 – Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 31 pts (1t, 10c, 2p)

9 – Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 25 caps, 45 pts (9t)

8 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 21 caps, 5 pts (1t)

7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 64 caps, 15 pts (3t)

6 – Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 0 pts

5 – Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 0 pts

4 – Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 1 cap, 0 points (Ireland 5 caps)

3 – Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 17 caps, 0 pts

2 – Bongi Mbonambi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 60 pts (12t)

1 – Trevor Nyakane (Cell C Sharks) – 59 caps, 5 pts (1t)


16 – Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers) – 5 caps, 0 pts

17 – Gerhard Steenekamp (Vodacom Bulls) – uncapped

18 – Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks) – 44 caps, 0 pts

19 – Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks) – 13 caps, 10 pts (2t)

20 – Evan Roos (DHL Stormers) – 4 caps, 0 pts

21 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 23 caps, 25 pts (5t)

22 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 60 caps, 60 pts (12t)

23 – Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) – 9 caps, 50 pts (10t)