The rugby championship may have been mixed up, but Argentina vs South Africa go ahead as planned this weekend.
Defending champions Springboks will again host Los Pumas at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth after the hosts’ 32-12 win in the first round last weekend.
Argentina is considered the home team for this game by the tournament organizer SANZAAR.
The game takes place amid great uncertainty regarding the rest of the tournament, with New Zealand canceling its last game against Australia and two Tests against South Africa this week amid a sudden lockdown and new travel restrictions due to Covid infection.
It is not yet known where the rest of the rugby championship will be played, with restrictions due to new Covid cases also affecting most of Australia. Completing the competition in Australian Queensland, South Africa or even Europe remain options.
Here’s everything you need to know about the unaffected Argentina-South Africa clash on Saturday:
When does Argentina – South Africa kick off?
Argentina v South Africa begins Saturday, August 21 at 4:05 p.m. UK time / 5:05 p.m. local time at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
The game starts at 12:05 p.m. in Argentina.
Which TV channel is Argentina playing on against South Africa? What about live streaming?
For British viewers, Argentina versus South Africa will be broadcast live in the Sky Sports Arena, with coverage starting at 3:55 p.m. Customers can stream live via the Sky Go app.
In South Africa the game will be broadcast live on SuperSport, while in Argentina it will be shown to viewers on ESPN 2 and ESPN Play.
What’s the team news?
Argentine head coach Mario Ledesma has radically changed his squad, with only the center pair Santiago Chocobares and Jeronimo de la Fuente in the front row and two of the three loose strikers in the same positions, amid two position changes.
The entire defense has changed, with Santiago Carreras moving from full-back to the left wing and Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni (injured), Nicolas Sanchez and Felipe Ezcurra leaving the starting line-up.
They are replaced by Juan Cruz Mallía as full-back, Ignacio Mendy without opponent on the right wing, Domingo Miotti at number 10 and Gonzalo Bertranou in the scrum half. Sanchez and Ezcurra are sitting on the bench.
Front flanker Facundo Isa will be out on matchday 23 and Marcos Kremer will switch to the bench. Guido Petti switches from lock to flank, with Tomas Lavanini and Matias Alemanno starting in the engine room.
Francisco Gomez Kodela, Pumas captain Julian Montoya and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro keep their seats in the front row, as do Rodrigo Bruni at number 8 and Pablo Matera on the flank.
Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has also made 11 changes to his starting XI and has returned to a more or less strong team after changing his players at the start of the rugby championship.
The only players who kept their starting places are Lock De Jager, captain and flanker Siya Kolisi, No. 8 Jasper Wiese and Scrum half Cobus Reinach.
Handre Pollard returns at halftime, Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am return to midfield, wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe and full-back Willie le Roux return to their posts.
Lock Marvin Orie, hooker Malcolm Marx and prop master Trevor Nyakane are promoted to the starting team, while prop colleague Thomas du Toit starts his first test of the season.
Flanker Franco Mostert is the only change in the loose trio for Kwagga Smith, while Smith switches to the bench instead of the injured Marco van Staden.
Argentina: 15th Juan Cruz Mallía, 14th Ignacio Mendy, 13th Santiago Chocobares, 12th Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11th Santiago Carreras, 10th Domingo Miotti, 9th Gonzalo Bertranou, 1st Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2nd Julián Montoya (Capt), 3. Francisco Gómez Kodela, 4. Matías Alemanno, 5. Tomás Lavanini, 6. Pablo Matera, 7. Guido Petti, 8. Rodrigo Bruni.
Substitutes: 16th Facundo Bosch, 17th Facundo Gigena, 18th Santiago Medrano, 19th Marcos Kremer, 20th Juan Martín González, 21st Felipe Ezcurra, 22nd Nicolás Sánchez, 23rd Lucio Cinti.
South Africa: 15th Willie le Roux, 14th Cheslin Kolbe, 13th Lukhanyo Am, 12th Damian de Allende, 11th Makazole Mapimpi, 10th Handré Pollard, 9th Cobus Reinach, 1st Trevor Nyakane, 2nd Malcolm Marx, 3rd Thomas du Toit, 4. Marvin Orie, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Siya Kolisi (Capt), 7. Franco Mostert, 8. Jasper Wiese.
Replacements: 16th Bongi Mbonambi, 17th Steven Kitshoff, 18th Frans Malherbe, 19th Nicolaas van Rensburg, 20th Kwagga Smith, 21st Dan du Preez, 22nd Jaden Hendrikse, 23rd Damian Willemse.
Who is the referee Argentina versus South Africa?
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen and AJ Jacobs (both South Africa)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)
What did the trainers say?
Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber: “Some players didn’t play after a physically demanding Castle Lager Lions series last week and are now back while we also wanted to give a few players who have worked hard in training over the last two Months a chance of valuable playing time.
“This is a long season so we need to strike the right balance between building consistency in selection and performance, managing players in terms of their workload and building depth in our squad.
“Argentina are going to be tough so we know we have to do a lot better than last week to get the result we want.
“Although we were delighted to win and successfully launched our Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign, there was plenty of room for improvement in our performance.
“We have identified some areas that we need to work on if we are to successfully defend our title and we will be working on those aspects of our game in practice this week.
“Argentina play with a lot of passion, much like us, so they will want to show their fighting spirit, which will set the stage for another challenging friendly between us.”