The match – which kicks off at Emirates Airline Park at 17h05 on Saturday – will not only mark the team’s last game on local soil this season, it will also be Jacques Nienaber and assistant coach Felix Jones’ last home game as Springbok coaches and possibly Vermeulen’s last dance in the green and gold jersey in South Africa.


Nienaber and Jones will join Leinster and England respectively after the World Cup, while Vermeulen may decide to hang up his boots following the global spectacle.

“As a team we spoke about the fact that it’s probably my last game in the jersey in SA and it will also be the last for two of our coaches,” said Vermeulen.

“It may be a bit emotional but the important thing for me will be to channel that emotion into leading the team well.

“It’s also our last game on home soil before the Rugby World Cup and we want to finish on a high note. If we play well and get a good result, it would be even more special.”

This, and the team’s desire to bounce back strongly from their defeat against New Zealand in Auckland, will be fuelled even further by the fact that every player realises the importance of making a statement as Nienaber prepares to announce his 33-man Rugby World Cup squad on Tuesday, 8 August.

“The World Cup squad has not been named yet, so this will be an opportunity for every player in the squad to try to cement a place in the group,” said Vermeulen.

“As players it is vital that we use every opportunity we get, and if we deliver quality performances, it will allow us to play the way we want to play against Argentina.”

Commenting on the threat the Pumas posed, Vermeulen said: “We definitely can’t sit back and rest on our laurels. Argentina are a physical side and they can play a complete game. They have strong forwards, skilful backs, and a massive work rate. They also don’t stand back.”

Vermeulen added: “As forwards we need to step up because we want to give Grant (Williams) and Manie (Libbok) the platform to have a good game. We didn’t do that for Faf (de Klerk) against New Zealand, and we’ve been working hard to ensure that we get things right this week.” 

Stick echoed his skipper’s sentiments and said: “It would be stupid to write off Argentina especially after their victory against Australia. They’ve delivered some fantastic results in the last two seasons, so you can never underestimate them. They are a good team and if we are off our game, they will punish us.

“Hopefully we can go out there tomorrow and rectify the things we did wrong against New Zealand.

“It’s also our last home game before the Rugby World Cup, so it’s important to deliver a good performance.”

The Springboks may still be in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship title race if Australia deliver a surprise result against the All Blacks in Melbourne on Saturday, but Stick took a realistic view about the team’s chances and said: “We didn’t touch on that as a team because that’s out of our control. The focus for us has been on playing well and giving Argentina the respect they deserve.”