Returning forwards boost Bok pack ahead of Argentina clash

Matera: South Africa clash will be special (0:38)

Argentina's Pablo Matera is looking forward to their match with South Africa insisting it would give them a chance to test themselves against the best. (0:38)

South Africa's forward pack has been boosted by the return of Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw and Warren Whiteley who all will make their first starts of 2018 when the Springboks host Argentina in Durban on Saturday evening.

The four forwards were sidelined due to injury during South Africa's series win over England in June. Their return has led to a reshuffle of the forward pack with captain Siya Kolisi shifting to the other side of the scrum to wear the number 7 jersey as well as a welcome increase in depth in the forwards.

"Our forward depth is very good indeed and the competition for places in the team is healthy, which can only be a good thing for us as we continue to build the depth of our squad," said coach Rassie Erasmus.

Other new faces are Marco van Staden and Damian Willemse who would make their international debut if they are deployed from the bench, while Lionel Mapoe has been included in the matchday 23 for the first time during Erasmus' tenure.

Makazole Mapimpi, who didn't feature in the series against England, will make his second Springbok start on the right wing in the place of the injured S'bu Nkosi, while his Sharks teammates André Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am will partner each other in the midfield for the first time in Tests.

The Argentines will be familiar opponents to the South Africans who ply their trade in Super Rugby as they would have faced the strong Jaguares outfit, coached by the same Mario Ledesma, earlier in the season; something South Africa and Erasmus are wary of.

"Their new coach comes with a lot of technical knowledge and experience from his previous coaching roles which is sure to add more firepower to their traditional strengths.

"They will be very confident as a result of the Jaguares' great run on tour in Australasia, where they won all four their matches on the road, as well as their winning performances against our own franchises." said Erasmus.

The match will be refereed by New Zealand's Ben O'Keeffe and will kick off in Durban at 17:05 (CAT).

South Africa: Willie Le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, André Esterhuizen, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Marvin Orie, Marco van Staden, Embrose Papier, Lionel Mapoe, Damian Willemse.