Cheika urges Pumas to embrace Durban challenge against Springboks

By Sports Desk September 22, 2022

Michael Cheika has urged Argentina to rise to the "huge challenge" of tackling world champions South Africa at Kings Park on Saturday.

For the first time, the Pumas could finish a Rugby Championship campaign with wins against all three of their rivals.

A 36-20 loss to the Springboks in Buenos Aires last week saw the Springboks score two late tries after Argentina got within two points heading into the closing minutes.

With wins over Australia and New Zealand already in the bag, Argentina head into their final match in Durban looking to complete the set, although Cheika is reluctant to address what such an achievement would signify.

"We can talk about that if it happens," he said. "We've got objectives and goals, but that's a good discussion to have once it's done. We've got a lot of work to do, a huge challenge in front of us for it to happen.

"We've just got to get in there, get dirty and do our bit, and see where we end up, and we can talk about that stuff after."

Cheika wants to give the Argentinian public something to celebrate after the late disappointment against the South Africans. Argentina came from 22-6 behind to recover to 22-20 last week, before being unable to complete the comeback.

"In relation to where we want to end up as a team, of all the games we've played so far we're probably most disappointed with that one because of the context," Cheika said. "I don't think I've seen a crowd going like that ever, and I want them to go like that this week when they're watching on telly.

"I don't want to go bigger picture here, I just want to say here's an opportunity: full house in Durban against the world champions, a chance to take, we've got to go there and try to take it."

Cheika has made two selection changes, bringing in wing Juan Imhoff and centre Matias Moroni for Lucio Cinti and Matias Orlando. That follows South Africa also making two changes when naming their line-up on Tuesday, with Frans Steyn coming in at fly-half for the injured Damian Willemse, and flanker Pieter Steph du Toit stepping in for Franco Mostert.

Argentina team: Juan Cruz Mallia, Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Juan Imhoff, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou; Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya (captain), Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Tomas Lavanini, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera.

Replacements: Augustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Joel Sclavi, Guido Petti, Pedro Rubiolo, Tomas Cubelli, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Bautista Delguy.

South Africa team: Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Frans Steyn, Jaden Hendrikse; Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Kurt-Lee Arendse.

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