Veteran Steyn starts at flyhalf for Springboks vs. Argentina
DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa was forced to select 35-year-old veteran Frans Steyn at flyhalf on Tuesday for the decisive final game of the Rugby Championship against Argentina.
The Springboks were already missing their top two No. 10s, Handré Pollard and Elton Jantjies, before stand-in Damian Willemse sustained a concussion in the 36-20 win over the Pumas in Argentina last Saturday.
That has forced coach Jacques Nienaber to give Steyn, an impact player off the bench for the last three years, a rare start this coming Saturday.
South Africa made one more change to its starting 15 by bringing flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit back for Franco Mostert.
Nienaber also reverted to a 6-2 split of forwards and backs on the bench for the game in Durban, meaning reserve scrumhalf Faf de Klerk must also cover at flyhalf if needed. Wing Kurt-Lee Arendse is the other back on the bench after serving a four-week suspension for a dangerous tackle on New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett in the opening round of the tournament.
Hooker Bongi Mbonambi returns from injury for a place among the reserves.
Defending champion New Zealand and South Africa are tied on 14 points, with the All Blacks topping the standings on points difference.
New Zealand hosts Australia earlier on Saturday, meaning the Springboks will know the result of that game and what they need to do against the Pumas to win the title.
Australia and Argentina also have outside chances of winning the tournament.
South Africa: Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Frans Steyn, Jaden Hendrikse; Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Kurt-Lee Arendse.
More AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports