Note: if you are having trouble reading this on a mobile device, turn your screen horizontally!
|1.||Tendai Mtawariwa – The Beast has had a great season for the Sharks and will be refreshed after some time out with injury.||8||Marcos Ayerza – Hugely influential players for the Pumas. Excellent scrummager but brilliant ball carrier, too.||8|
|2.||Bismarck du Plessis – A legend in South Africa, is there as complete a hooker in world rugby as Bismarck? Great at the set piece and a ferocious carrier.||9||Agustín Creevy (c) – Handed the captaincy by Hourcade, he is obviously well thought of in the Argentinian ranks. Fiercely passionate, but needs to make sure it doesn’t boil over.||7|
|3.||Jannie du Plessis – Like his brother, Jannie is an excellent carrier and accomplished scrummager. Completes an overwhelmingly physical front row.||8||Ramiro Herrera – Recently signed a two year deal with Castres after impressing in two games as a medical joker last season. Baptism of fire against the Beast.||6.5|
|4.||Bakkies Botha – The fire still burns deep within this experienced warrior. Won’t take any prisoners.||8||Mariano Galarza – Had a mixed season in the Premiership with Worcester, but impressed enough to be signed by Gloucester this year. Big shift needed against best tight five in world rugby.||6.5|
|5.||Lood de Jager – Was hugely impressive in his debut series in June. Strong carrier and excellent work rate, another top prospect off the Springbok lock production line.||7.5||Tomás Lavanini – Precociously talented 21-year old with 10 caps to his name already. About to face his biggest test to date.||7|
|6.||François Louw – Wears 6 but does the duty of what the rest of the world recognises as a 7. Strong, quick and great at the breakdown. One of SA’s most important players.||8.5||Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe – An Argentine legend and still a superbly influential player after so many years at the top. Will not take a backward step.||8.5|
|7.||Willem Alberts – A behemoth of a man who rarely goes anywhere other than over the gain line.||8||Pablo Matera – A breakout player in last year’s championship, Matera did not see as much action as he would have liked at the Tigers this year. Hugely talented.||7|
|8.||Duane Vermuelen – Another massive ball carrier in the Springbok pack, Vermuelen also has a subtlety to his handling that not many of the others possess.||8.5||Juan Manuel Leguizamón – Former skipper and stalwart of the Argentine pack. Good with ball in hand, but will have to be at his best to counter the South African threat.||7.5|
|9.||Ruan Pienaar – Will control the game with that trusty boot of his, although his service isn’t the quickest. Won’t let the Boks down.||7||Martín Landajo – Will be reasonably familiar with the South African rugby way after playing for Las Pampas in the Vodacom Cup.||6.5|
|10.||Handré Pollard – Looks the real deal after an accomplished debut in the June tests. Excellent kicker and a visionary with ball in hand.||8||Nicolás Sánchez – One of four players currently unattached in this Argentine team. A potential weak link, up against the brilliance of Pollard.||6|
|11.||Bryan Habana – Didn’t have the best of seasons with Toulon, but is rarely off form in the Bok shirt. Still lightening quick and a brilliant finisher.||8||Manuel Montero – Quick and strong, Montero has the potential to be a fixture in the Argentine backline for years to come. Scored a corker against Ireland in June.||7|
|12.||Jean de Villiers (c) – Still a vital cog in the Springbok machine. Picks brilliant lines and is ferocious in defence in the midfield.||8||Juan Martín Hernández – Not his most familiar position, but everyone knows what Hernández is capable of. Hasn’t reached his 2007 levels in recent years, however.||7.5|
|13.||Damien de Allende – Scored some belters for the Stormers in Super Rugby this year, and is a surprisingly progressive selection from Meyer. Forms a well-oiled partnership with de Villiers.||7.5||Marcelo Bosch – Classy footballer in the Argentine midfield. Quick, strong and with a mammoth boot, both from the tee and hand. One of the Argentinians’ stand out players.||8|
|14.||Cornal Hendricks – A former sevens speedster, Hendricks is a dead-eye finisher. Give him the ball in space, and he won’t let you down.||7.5||Horacio Agulla – A wily player with plenty of experience at the top level of European rugby. Will need it all to thwart a dangerous Springbok back three.||7|
|15.||Willie le Roux – South Africa’s standout player in the last year, and consistently impressive in a fairly average Cheetahs team this year. One of the most dangerous counter attackers in the world.||9||Joaquín Tuculet – Utility back currently plying his trade for Bordeaux in the Top 14. Could be up against it this weekend.||6|
It’s very tough to see this going any other way than a fairly comprehensive home win. The Springboks haven’t lost since the final game of the Rugby Championship last year, that epic at Eden Park against New Zealand. At various times in June they looked both imperious and shaky, but for the most part they were too good for Wales and Scotland.
The Argentine strength traditionally lies up front, and while they have a good pack it is unlikely to be any match for what is a settled, and hugely physical, South Africa eight. With a good platform to play from, expect Handré Pollard to show once again why everyone in the country is quite so excited about his future.
As always, Argentina won’t lack for effort, but at home South Africa will simply be too good. South Africa by 24.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images