Uzair Cassiem starts for South Africa in Rugby Championship opener
By Tony Tighe
Last Updated: 17/08/17 4:25pm
Uzair Cassiem will start at No 8 for South Africa in Saturday's Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Port Elizabeth, live on Sky Sports Action from 3.30pm.
The Cheetahs forward wins his second cap, having made his debut against Wales last November, and is one of three changes to the side that completed a series whitewash against France in June.
Ross Cronje starts at scrum-half with Worcester's Francois Hougaard dropping to the bench, while Coenie Oosthuizen comes in for Ruan Dreyer at tighthead prop.
"Uzair is a very versatile loose forward and the added advantage is that he is also an excellent option in the lineout," said Springboks head coach Allister Coetzee.
"Coenie has played consistently well this season for the Sharks and he performed well for us whenever he came off the bench in the French series, while Trevor has worked extremely hard and deserves his opportunity."
Curwin Bosch, who starred for the Sharks in Super Rugby this season, will make his debut if introduced from the bench.
"Curwin is a young player with huge potential and a bright future ahead of him," added Coetzee.
"He showed in the very tough Vodacom Super Rugby competition that he is a skilful player and a prolific goal kicker and he covers both full-back and fly-half.
"He can be very proud of his inclusion in the match day squad as he matriculated from Grey Port Elizabeth just two years ago."
South Africa defeated Argentina in the opening round of last year's Rugby Championship but were beaten in Salta a week later.
The Pumas have won just one of their 10 Tests since that victory over South Africa and suffered a 2-0 series defeat to an understrength England in June, but Coetzee is expecting a tough outing against 'a very proud rugby nation'.
"They are excellent in their set pieces, and have a number of world class players in this team," he said.
"Their biggest threat is that they strike from first phase, hard at the breakdown, looking to turn ball over and get into general attack."
South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje; 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Malcolm Marx, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 4 Eben Etzebeth (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi, 7 Jaco Kriel, 8 Uzair Cassiem.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende.