The Springboks will win well in Salta, despite the Pumas pack overhaul.
The Pumas have made four changes to the pack the Boks dominated in the set phase in Port Elizabeth. The Pumas are renowned for their scrum and strength in the contact, but in Port Elizabeth they got owned and embarrassed.
Two props, a lock and No 8 paid the price for the Port Elizabeth 37-15 defeat. Equally the halfbacks, with captain and scrum half Martin Landajo relegated to the role of finisher in Salta.
The Boks have played in Salta twice since 2014, winning 33-31 and in 2016 losing 26-24. The latter was the Pumas first ever win against the Springboks in Argentina and followed their 2015 historic first ever win against the Boks in Durban.
The Springboks since 2016 are vastly improved. Not so the Pumas, who have lost nine of their last 11 Tests since the win in Salta against the Springboks.
The Springboks physicality and presence in contact and superior discipline have been influential in the Boks winning four of the last five Tests against the Pumas.
Sanzaar.com, the official Rugby Championship site, identified the contrast in the Pumas attack and defence and it highlights how the Pumas are grappling with balance as they continue to evolve their attack. The Pumas, in these five Tests, have on average spent seven minutes more on the ball but it is the Springboks who have scored more tries.
The Pumas averaged more carries, metres, breaks, defenders beaten and offloads but South Africa’s effectiveness from the turnover ball has punished the Pumas.
Discipline is the Achilles Heel of the Pumas. They have conceded on average four more penalties than the Springboks and in four of the last five Tests against the Boks lost a player to a yellow card. In Port Elizabeth the Pumas were penalised 12 times, compared with the six of the Springboks.
The Boks have also been superior at the breakdown and in contact, turning over on average 33 percent more ball than Saturday’s hosts. The Pumas average six turnovers per game against the Boks, to the Boks’s nine.
Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth and loose-forward Jean-Luc du Preez both made a big impact as enforcers in Port Elizabeth and the two should again be influential in South Africa maintaining this edge.
Springboks v Pumas
2017: South Africa 37-15 Argentina, Port Elizabeth (Rugby Championship)
2016: Argentina 26-24 South Africa, Salta (Rugby Championship)
2016: South Africa 30-23 Argentina, Nelspruit (Rugby Championship)
2015: South Africa 24-13 Argentina, London (RWC bronze final)
2015: Argentina 12-26 South Africa, Buenos Aires (RWC warm-up)
2015: South Africa 25-37 Argentina, Durban (Rugby Championship)
2014: Argentina 31-33 South Africa, Salta (Rugby Championship)
2014: South Africa 13-6 Argentina, Pretoria (Rugby Championship)
2013: Argentina 17-22 South Africa, Mendoza (Rugby Championship)
2013: South Africa 73-13 Argentina, Soweto (Rugby Championship)
2012: Argentina 16-16 South Africa, Mendoza (Rugby Championship)
2012: South Africa 27-6 Argentina, Cape Town (Rugby Championship)
2008: South Africa 63-9 Argentina, Johannesburg
2007: South Africa 37-13 Argentina, Paris (RWC semi-final)
2005: Argentina 23-34 South Africa, Buenos Aires
2004: Argentina 7-39 South Africa, Buenos Aires
2003: South Africa 26-25 Argentina, Port Elizabeth
2002: South Africa 49-29 Argentina, Springs
2000: Argentina 33-37 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1996: Argentina 21-44 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1996: Argentina 15-46 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1994: South Africa 46-26 Argentina, Johannesburg
1994: South Africa 42-22 Argentina, Port Elizabeth
1993: Argentina 23-52 South Africa, Buenos Aires
1993: Argentina 26-29 South Africa, Buenos Aires
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera
Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Matias Moroni