Springbok fans, Olympic stadium, London

It’s not exactly how we wanted to watch our Boks this weekend…but it is at least another opportunity to watch the South African rugby team in action at the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in England. The Boks will take on Argentina tomorrow, Friday, evening at Olympic Stadium in London to see who wins bronze.

Springbok fans, Olympic stadium, London
The Argentina vs Springboks match will take place at Olympic Stadium, London, pictured here when SA played USA earlier in the tournament.

According to SARugby.co.za, the official website of the Springboks, coach Heyneke Meyer has named his “strongest possible team as a mark of the greatest respect to an outstanding Argentina team”.

Springboks with fans, at training field in Surrey
Victor Matfield after a training session in England last week.

Victor Matfield replaces Lood de Jager as one of only two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s semi-final against New Zealand. Matfield, who will captain the team for the 23rd time, has enjoyed the longest career span in Springbok rugby – Friday’s Test will be 14 years and 122 days since he made his Test debut on 30 June, 2001 against Italy.

Matfield takes over the captaincy from the injured Fourie du Preez, whose place in the No 9 jersey is taken by Ruan Pienaar with Rudy Paige coming on to the bench.

“This is a critical match for us and we owe it to ourselves and our supporters to end the season on a high note,” said Meyer.

South Africa and Argentina have only met once before in a RWC tournament – in 2007 they played in one semi-final at Stade de France. South Africa won that match by 37-13.

“The Pumas have made massive strides in recent years and we’ve experienced first-hand how tough an opponent they can be. The players realise that they will have to lift themselves for one final push on Friday to ensure that South African rugby goes into the off season on a winning note.”

This will be the 22nd Test between the two countries…of which SA has won 90 percent of the matches.

“I considered fielding a much-changed team and weighed the pros and cons but ultimately decided the team that has grown together over the past few weeks was the one with the best chance of delivering victory for our supporters.”

Rugby World Cup 2015

Meyer said the playoff match for third place at the World Cup is not what the Springboks had hoped for, but that they will approach the final Test of 2015 as the final.

“The players have all spoken about the honour of wearing the Springbok jersey and this Test is no different – we will never settle for being second or third best,” he said.

Rugby World Cup 2015

“It is my task to get them in the right frame of mind after the disappointment of last weekend and to ensure we bounce back with a good win after a tough week. To lose a Test is never good enough but we’ve put last week behind us and our focus is now solely on Friday.

Rugby World Cup 2015

“Although our aim was always to win the competition, we have the opportunity to finish our campaign on a high and that is what we will be aiming for against a very good Argentinean side.

Bokke fans meet the Springboks
Bryan Habana after a training session in England last week.

Pat Lambie will reach the special milestone of 50 Test caps for South Africa if he gets game-time off the bench.

And if Bryan Habana scores a try he will extend his own record of 64 Test tries for South Africa and will surpass David Campese of Australia. The two are currently in joint second position for most Tries after Habana’s spectacular performance during the Springboks’ last match at the same Olympic stadium (where we played the USA). First on the list is Daisuke Ohata of Japan on 69 career tries.

The referee is John Lacey of Ireland. In the two previous Tests involving SA in which he refereed we won one (against Argentina in 2014) and lost one (against Wales in the same year).

The match kicks off at 10pm SA time.

The Springbok team to face Argentina in London is:

Position/Name/Franchise or Club/Test Caps/Test points

15. Willie le Roux Toyota Cheetahs (33 caps, 45 points)
14. JP Pietersen Cell C Sharks (65 caps, 110 points)
13. Jesse Kriel Vodacom Bulls (10 caps, 15 points)
12. Damian De Allende DHL Stormers (12 caps, 5 points)
11. Bryan Habana Toulon (116 caps, 320 points)
10. Handré Pollard Vodacom Bulls (19 caps, 174 points)
9. Ruan Pienaar Ulster (87 caps, 135 points)
8. Duane Vermeulen DHL Stormers (34 caps, 10 points)
7. Schalk Burger DHL Stormers (85 caps, 80 points)
6. Francois Louw Bath (42 caps, 40 points)
5. Victor Matfield (captain) Vodacom Bulls (126 caps, 35 points)
4. Eben Etzebeth DHL Stormers (43 caps, 5 points)
3. Frans Malherbe DHL Stormers (11 caps, 0 points)
2. Bismarck du Plessis Cell C Sharks (78 caps, 55 points)
1. Tendai Mtawarira Cell C Sharks (74 caps, 10 points)
16. Adriaan Strauss Vodacom Bulls (53 caps, 30 points)
17. Trevor Nyakane Vodacom Bulls (22 caps, 5 points)
18. Jannie du Plessis Cell C Sharks (69 caps, 5 points)
19. Lood de Jager Toyota Cheetahs (18 caps, 20 points)
20. Willem Alberts Cell C Sharks (37 caps, 35 points)
21. Rudy Paige Vodacom Bulls (1 cap, 0 points)
22. Pat Lambie Cell C Sharks (49 caps, 134 points)
23. Jan Serfontein Vodacom Bulls (25 caps, 10 points)

#GoBokke #GoSouthAfrica

Noticeboard Message – for anyone who’d like to watch the match…

Xavier Lawrence‎: “I have 2 cat B tickets (East Strand – Block 132 – Row 7) to RWC Bronze Final – South Africa vs Argentina. Selling @ face value (£ 125 each). Please e-mail me at lawrence.xav@gmail.com if interested.Thanks!”