Performing: Curwin Bosch has impressed Bok assistant coach Franco Smith in the build-up to Saturday’s Test against Argentina. Picture: MICHAEL SHEEHAN/GALLO IMAGES
Performing: Curwin Bosch has impressed Bok assistant coach Franco Smith in the build-up to Saturday’s Test against Argentina. Picture: MICHAEL SHEEHAN/GALLO IMAGES

Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith is keeping his cards close to the chest on the lineup to face Argentina in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday.

There has been speculation that 20-year-old Curwin Bosch might be on the bench as an understudy to Elton Jantjies at flyhalf while Handré Pollard is recovering from injury.

Smith was not giving anything away when pressed on who Jantjies’s understudy would be for the opening game in the Rugby Championship.

"We will have to wait for the team announcement to make sure that nobody is disappointed or too excited‚" Smith said.

"Everybody has trained well and we have got a lot of plans. We are working hard to better the skills sets of every player and also in the flyhalf role.

"Both Handré Pollard and Curwin Bosch really stepped up this week.

"I am impressed with the way they have adapted to the detail work.

"In a Test match it is slightly different‚ because the margin for error is much less.

"Both of them are new to the system. They adapted nicely and we are just giving them the freedom to develop among these guys," he said.

"We set the process and system place. What’s nice about it is that if somebody comes into the fold‚ then it is the players coaching each other rather than all the info just coming from us. So we have put a system where they slot in and it is easy for Elton to explain and for them to just contribute," he said.

"I am quite excited … that the backline players‚ and specially the flyhalves‚ are all contributing well‚ and are looking fine and in form‚" Smith said.

Meanwhile‚ the Springboks have released Warrick Gelant (fullback)‚ Lizo Gqoboka (prop‚ both Blue Bulls)‚ Oupa Mohoje (flank)‚ Francois Venter (centre‚ both Free State Cheetahs) and Dillyn Leyds (wing‚ Western Province) to their provincial teams for Currie Cup duty.

The Springbok match-day squad will be named on Wednesday‚ while the 28-man squad that leave for Salta‚ Argentina‚ on August 23 will be announced next Tuesday.

Smith warned Argentina will be prepared to die for their country on Saturday.

A full house of 46,000 fans can expect an intense contest when the Test kicks off at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Smith said the Springboks were preparing for a fierce onslaught against an innovative outfit that thrive on creating opportunities out of nothing.

"I have worked in Europe for a long time with Argentinian players, and they are very proud of what they do," Smith said.

"I think that brings extra motivation and extra fire in the belly and I believe that is what they thrive on.

"They also feed off one another’s energy and they are literally prepared to die for their country," he said.

"Since the last round of Super Rugby they have been focusing on what will happen in the next two weeks.

Although the Argentinian Jaguares did not set the world alight in the Super Rugby competition in 2017, Smith warned the Springboks to expect to be confronted by a totally different beast on Saturday.

"I believe that we will see a different Argentine side compared to the one we saw in Super Rugby," he said.

SA’s 3-0 clean sweep of the French in June has fuelled the fires of public expectation and hopes are high that the winning trend will continue in the Rugby Championship.

The Springbok assistant coach said the visitors were full of confidence and their players played to their strengths.

"They create a lot of one-on-ones and they like to open the game up," he said.

"It will be important for us to be ready for the challenge," Smith said.


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