Hougaard starts for Springboks

Experienced scrum-half Francois Hougaard will make his 44th Test appearance for the Springboks when South Africa face Argentina in Salta.

Hougaard comes into the Springbok starting XV in place of the injured Ross Cronje, who sustained an ankle injury in the Springboks’ 37-15 triumph over the Pumas last weekend in Port Elizabeth.

Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, said that while the loss of Cronje is a big blow to the team, the Boks are in the fortunate position to call on the services of the very experienced Hougaard.

With Hougaard elevated to the starting team, Rudy Paige moves back into the match day squad as the replacement scrum-half.

“Francois has played a lot of Test match rugby, his work ethic is second to none and he has been working hard up to now since joining the squad,” said Coetzee.

“Rudy made a good impact in the third Test against France and I expect the same from him this weekend.”

According to the Springbok coach, the entire match 23 played well in Port Elizabeth, making it easy to announce just the one forced change in a week that the team has a short turnaround due to the travel to South America. The consistent team selection also allows the Springboks to continue with their processes and keep building on their continuity.

Coetzee also pointed to the healthy competition for places in the team: “The players outside of the match 23 squad are all knocking on the door and that is a great position to be in.”

Coetzee said the Springboks have to deliver an even better performance in Salta, where a fierce Puma challenge is expected.

“This is going to be a different challenge but I have no doubt the players will benefit and grow from every tough experience,” said the Springbok coach.