Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has named his strongest possible team to take on Argentina in Friday night’s World Cup Bronze Final at the Olympic Stadium.
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. He takes over the over the captaincy from the
injured Fourie du Preez (cheek), 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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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
Pat Lambie will reach the
special milestone of 50 Test caps for South Africa if he gets game-time off the
15 Willie le roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismacrk du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.