- Springbok lock Lood de Jager says they are hungry to win the Rugby Championship outside of a World Cup year.
- The only times New Zealand have relinquished the Rugby Championship since 2012 was in 2015 to Australia and in 2019 to South Africa.
- The Springboks likely need to beat Argentina convincingly at Kings Park to make the Rugby Championship dream happen.
Springbok lock Lood de Jager may have been to two Rugby World Cups, one of which he’s won, but he’s never been in a team that’s won the Rugby Championship outside of a World Cup year.
The trophy has generally been New Zealand’s property in those years and should the Springboks comfortably beat Argentina in Saturday’s crunch game at Kings Park, they’ll clinch the trophy.
That will be easier said than done as they still need to see how the Australia/New Zealand game in Auckland will determine the effort the Boks need to put in against the Pumas.
De Jager said Saturday’s game is one they can only dream of, but one that’s also a privilege to take part in.
“It’s a big game and we haven’t won a full Rugby Championship where we’ve played the other teams twice,” De Jager said.
“It’s an important game, but it’s also a privilege, in the same way, that a World Cup final is a privilege.
“Growing up, you want to play in those big games and when you play rugby in the backyard, you always simulate a World Cup final.”
The Pumas are bottom of the log with nine points and a points difference of -43, mostly brought about by their 53-3 defeat against the All Blacks.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse
They have beaten Australia away and New Zealand at home, but they’re heavily reliant on Australia (on 10 points with a points differential of -26 ) winning against New Zealand in Auckland for the first time since 1986 for that to happen.
That also means they’ll have to win big against the Boks, who have the most to gain from a Wallaby win against the All Blacks.
De Jager remains wary of the threat posed by Argentina and the fact that he felt they’re still in with a chance of winning the tournament.
“They’ve got a chance to win the Rugby Championship as well if Australia beat New Zealand,” De Jager said.
“They’re coming here with the mindset of wanting to be the first Argentinian team to win the Rugby Championship.”