Coenie Oosthuizen is Springbok coach Allister Coetzee’s tighthead choice to neutralise the famed Pumas scrum in Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener in Port Elizabeth.
The Test is expected to be a sell out with 40 000 of the capacity 45 000 tickets already sold.
Coetzee’s tighthead stocks are limited because of the injury to specialist No 3 Frans Malherbe.
Oosthuizen’s preferred position is loosehead and he has played often, with mixed results, as a Springbok tighthead.
Former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer first identified Oosthuizen as a loosehead with the potential to mature into a Test tighthead. Meyer felt tighthead was a playing position globally, which included the Springboks, that lacked depth. He was convinced there were too many good looseheads and not enough tightheads.
Oosthuizen in the 2017 Sharks Super Rugby campaign played both tighthead and loosehead.
Coetzee has selected a starting XV exclusive to players based in South Africa. The only foreign-based player in the match 23 is Worcester’s Francois Hougaard.
Coetzee also invested strongly with local based players in the three-nil series win against France and has trusted the success of the French series to translate into a winning start to this year’s Rugby Championship.
Expectations are that the Boks should at least win four of their Rugby Championship six matches and in a Sport24 poll more than 17 000 South African supporters voted for the Boks to win four of the six matches and finish second to New Zealand in the competition.
Uzair Cassiem, as speculated earlier in the week, starts at No 8 in the absence of Springbok captain Warren Whiteley and experienced Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen.
Sharks youngsters Curwin Bosch, schooled at Grey High in Port Elizabeth, is also included in the match 23 for the first time.
Bosch, a couple of seasons ago, was the SA Schools flyhalf and he played for the SA under 20 team in 2016 and 2017. He made his Super Rugby debut in 2017.
The Pumas have made three changes to the side that beat Georgia. The guts of the match squad is similar to the one beaten by England in the two-Test series in Argentina.
Springboks: Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Uzair Cassiem, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Coenie Oosthuizen, Malcolm Marx, Beast Mtawirira. Substitutes: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Francois Hougaard, Curwin Bosch, Damian de Allende.
Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet; 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli; 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo; 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera; 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti; 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Substitutes: Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera, Ramiro Herrera, Marcos Kremer, Javier Ortega Desio, Tomas Cubelli, Juan Martin Hernandez, Matias Moroni