The South African Springboks are set to face Argentina in Johannesburg next week with a significant boost to their squad as scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse makes his return.
However, the team will have to make do without the injured Ox Nche, who remains on the sidelines. Following their return from New Zealand, the Springbok squad regrouped in Pretoria after a brief two-day break.
Jaden Hendrikse, who impressed everyone with several starts for the Boks last year, had faced a setback this season due to a long-term shoulder injury while playing for the Sharks.
Additionally, he was recently on leave due to a family bereavement, but his return now strengthens the team.
In contrast, loosehead prop Ox Nche injured his pectoral muscle just before the match against the Wallabies two weeks ago, and it appears he may be out of action for an extended period.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber expressed his contentment with the stable squad, emphasizing the determination of the players to bounce back after their recent defeat against New Zealand.
Despite the disappointment, the team is focused on learning from that experience and applying the lessons in their upcoming encounter, which could potentially decide the Rugby Championship.
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The much-anticipated match at Emirates Airline Park will be the Springboks’ final appearance on home soil in 2023.
After experiencing seven consecutive home sell-outs since the 2022 season began, Nienaber conveyed the team’s excitement to bid farewell in front of their passionate home crowd.
Addressing the importance of the upcoming match, Nienaber stated that not only could it be the decider for the Rugby Championship, but it also serves as the last home fixture before the World Cup.
He urged South Africa’s rugby fans to come out in full force, clad in their iconic green and gold, to create an electric atmosphere and provide invaluable support.
With an eye on the upcoming World Cup in France, Nienaber emphasized the significance of managing player load effectively.
Balancing the need to provide opportunities for players to stake their claim for the World Cup squad, while also delivering positive results, will be crucial in building momentum heading into the international showpiece.