Cape Town – The Springboks will be going all out to claim the Rugby Championship title when they square off against Argentina at Kings Park on Saturday night (5.05pm kick-off).
Los Pumas won’t just roll over, though, as they showed in fighting back to within two points of the South Africans in Buenos Aires in last week’s 36-20 loss.
Here are five key battles that can decide the Durban clash …
Canan Moodie v Juan Imhoff
The 19-year-old Bok wing has made a top-class start to his Test career, scoring a try on debut against the Wallabies in Sydney.
Moodie had acres of space to move in during last week’s win in Buenos Aires, and came close to dotting down again. But there he was up against another youngster in 22-year-old Lucio Cinti – and it’s going to be a very different story against Imhoff.
The 34-year-old strike-runner loves Kings Park, having produced a hat-trick in Los Pumas’s famous victory over the Boks in 2015.
Imhoff has a devastating step and straight-line speed, so perhaps Jaden Hendrikse must launch an early box-kick for Moodie to flatten his opponent!
Jesse Kriel v Matias Moroni
Kriel had a forgettable last outing at Kings Park against Argentina in 2015, where Imhoff terrorised him on the wing.
But it’s seven years later, and Kriel is now in his preferred No 13 jersey.
He has been solid without being spectacular in the last few games … Perhaps a return to his home province will do the trick for the Maritzburg College product.
Kriel is only 28, but has already earned 55 Test caps, and must set the tone in midfield. His battle with Matias Moroni will be one to savour, as Los Pumas’s No 13 never stops having a go at the defence. Tackling him is one thing, but Kriel would want to put his opponent under pressure with ball in hand as well.
Frans Steyn v Santiago Carreras
The Bok veteran’s only Test as the starting flyhalf was in 2008 at a wet Newlands against Italy, although he has featured there for the Sharks and more recently for the Cheetahs.
But while he has the booming boot and is a strong defender, can Steyn be the playmaker that the Bok backline thrives on – as seen when Damian Willemse is in the No 10 jersey?
When he was younger, we all saw the audacious skill that Steyn possesses, so it is certainly within his make-up.
Argentinian pivot Carreras was not as influential as his predecessors such as Nicolas Sanchez and the retired Juan Martin Hernandez in Buenos Aires last week, and is more of a utility back who is filling in for the injured veteran Sanchez.
He needs to get his speedy outside backs into the game, and take on Steyn with ball in hand.
Jasper Wiese v Pablo Matera
The two hard-nosed No 8s had a full go at each other last weekend, and will continue the ball at Kings Park. Wiese is the tearaway truck that smashes into defenders and never goes backwards, while Matera is the classic loose forward who is equally influential with and without the ball.
Wiese can be so much more effective if he had to try an offload now and again, as it’s something that won’t be expected by the Argentinians.
Matera will lead the charge for the visiting pack, but will also be a nuisance at the breakdowns.
Frans Malherbe v Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
This one is going to be a tasty contest! It was a scrum battle for the purists at the Estadio Libertadores de America between the two props, with the honours probably even at the end of the game.
But Malherbe has been in outstanding form this year, and won’t want to concede scrum penalties again at Kings Park.
Chaparro knows all the dark arts of the front row from his 70-odd Tests, so Malherbe will have to find another way to get the edge.