BUENOS AIRES: South Africa captain Siya Kolisi is predicting a fierce battle at the breakdown in their must-win Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday (Sep 17), where victory for either side will keep them in the hunt for the title.
They each trail table-toppers New Zealand by five points and will draw level with the All Blacks if they can gain a bonus-point win.
Both sides have been inconsistent this season, battling to string a run of good performances together, but Kolisi believes whoever wins the skirmish on the floor will gain the upper hand.
"We will ensure we play to the game-plan, but also what is in front of us," he told reporters on Friday. "(Pablo) Matera is good over the ball, (Marcos) Kremer and (Julian) Montoya too. Even (Agustin) Creevy when he comes on.
"We have to make sure we look after the breakdown. They can’t do anything without the ball and we need to look after it. If we don’t, they are going to have a field day. As loose forwards we have to make sure we manage the field."
One of the much-anticipated contests will be Argentina captain Montoya against his Leicester Tigers team-mate Jasper Wiese, who has been largely superb at number eight for the Springboks this year with his powerful carries.
"He’s been amazing, he is always taking his opportunity. You know exactly what he will bring to the team with his energy," Kolisi said of back row partner Wiese.
"He got taken off early in one of the tests against Wales (in July). Some guys might have got upset and made a scene, but he understood that at the time he wasn’t doing what was needed.
"He stayed quiet and came back the next week and got man of the match, which tells you a lot about him. He is a big part of our team."
The Boks play in Argentina for the first time since 2019, when they won 46-13 in Salta to claim the Rugby Championship title.
The year before that they were well-beaten 32-19 in Mendoza, the last time Argentina won against them.
The teams will clash for a final Rugby Championship fixture in Durban on Sep 24.