The Pumas will face their last commitment in the Rugby Championship 2023 this Saturday when they visit the current world champion, South Africa, at the Emirates Airline Park stadium in the city of Johannesburg. The Argentine team will face the Springboks from 12:05 in Argentina in search of a good closing in the competition, this year reduced -only three dates- due to the dispute of the World Cup in France 2023 starting in September.
The match in South Africa acquires extra importance as a test bench because it is one of the three tests remaining for the Albiceleste team before the debut in the World Cup against England, on September 9 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. After this Saturday’s game, Argentina will once again play a friendly test match with South Africa on August 5 in Vélez and then they will face another against Spain, on August 26 in Madrid.
The team led by the Australian Michael Cheika showed two faces throughout this Championship: one very lackluster in the opening game against New Zealand in Mendoza (12-41) and another noticeably improved to beat the Wallabies in Sydney on the last play. (34-31).
The All Blacks, defending champions, are in first place with 9 units and will seek to renew the crown on their visit to Australia (last with 1) starting at 6:45. The Springboks are second with 5 units and Los Pumas, third with 4.
In Johannesburg, the Argentine team will again have five players in the squad who finished the season in France later. Three of them will start (Juan Imhoff, Juan Cruz Mallía and Santiago Chocobares) and the other two will be on the substitute bench (Facundo Isa and Joel Sclavi).
The second row Lucas Paulos and the scrum half Lautaron Bazán Vélez will complete the five changes that the Argentine formation will have in relation to the previous game in Sydney. Those leaving the starting XV are Matías Alemanno (injured), Gonzalo Bertranou, Rodrigo Isgró, Emiliano Boffelli and Jerónimo De la Fuente.
South Africa have won their last six exams against Los Pumas after the loss in August 2018 in Mendoza.