Boks to thump Argentina - bet on it!

Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks will get their 2018 Rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start against Argentina, if bookmakers are to be believed...

READ: Rassie Erasmus expecting Jaguares-like performance from Pumas

Rassie Erasmus' side welcome the Pumas to Durban on Saturday for their opening skirmish in this year's tournament.

Kick-off is at 17:05.

The sides will face one another again the following weekend in Mendoza.

While the Springboks have welcomed back four stalwarts in Malcolm Marx, Warren Whiteley, Francois Louw and Eben Etzebeth - who between them boast 155 Test caps - the Pumas side is a glorified Super Rugby one.

And not a very good one at that.

Granted, the Jaguares were vastly improved this season, but still lost ALL five of their matches in South Africa, finishing with an overall record of played 16, won 9, lost 7.

And it bears remembering that 2018 was hardly a vintage year for South African Super Rugby sides.

The Jaguares lost 40-23 (in the quarter-finals) and 47-27 to the Lions at Ellis Park, 43-34 to the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld, 28-20 to the Stormers at Newlands and 20-10 to the Sharks at the same Kings Park venue for Saturday's clash.

So, take the "Super Rugby to Rugby Championship continuity" claims the Springbok management team are trying to hype up their opponents with, with a pinch of salt.

The Jaguares are an average Super Rugby side. The Springboks on their day are one of the best international sides in the world. It won't be close.

And leading SA bookmakers Sportingbet agree.

The website has installed the Boks as 15-point handicap favourites, and 1/10 for the outright victory.

Argentina can be backed at 11/2, while the draw is on offer at 33/1.

Meanwhile, the All Blacks are 11-point handicap favourites - and 11/50 outright - to beat the Wallabies in their opening Rugby Championship - and Bledisloe Cup - clash in Sydney.

Australia are on offer at a fairly attractive 13/4, while the draw can be backed at 25/1.

Kick-off at the ANZ Stadium is 12:05 SA time.

READ: New role for Springboks' first ever black skipper

WEEKEND TEAMS:

Australia v New Zealand, Sydney - 12:05

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Tom Robertson

Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 Jack Maddocks

New Zealand

15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Tim Perry, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

South Africa v Argentina, Durban - 17:05

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse

Argentina

15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia
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