Mbonambi impressed by full jacket showings from Marx, ready to make Bok impact from bench

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  • Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi has been in awe of Malcolm Marx's performances in the green and gold jersey.
  • Marx scored in last week's 36-20 win and will start against Argentina at Kings Park on Saturday.
  • Mbonambi has recovered from a knee injury that's kept him out of action for just over a month.

In Durban

Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi has been more than chuffed with Malcolm Marx's contributions while he's recovered from a knee injury.

Marx was often benching for Mbonambi, but when Mbonambi sustained a knee injury in the build-up to the second All Black Test at the Ellis Park on 13 August, Marx stepped up and more than filled his void.

In Mbonambi's absence, Marx has been starting and with some success, with the Boks recording consecutive wins against Australia and Argentina that saw them bounce back from two losses against the All Blacks in Johannesburg and the Wallabies in Adelaide.

Mbonambi said Marx, who will be starting Saturday's Rugby Championship finale against the Pumas at Kings Park and scored in last week's 36-20 in Buenos Aires, has been world class.

READ | Boks primed for Rugby Championship assault, but ghosts of Pumas' 2015 success looms large

"Malcolm has been playing very well and the competition in the squad is very tight," Mbonambi said.

"We compete very hard for places in the squad and it's never easy coming back from injury. It's not easy making your way back in."

Mbonambi, who has been training with his knee strapped up this week, said there's pressure on them to deliver a trophy that's generally eluded them.

However, he said the pressure of playing for the Boks was a privilege as compared to what the country is going through from a socio-economic perspective.

"I wouldn't use pressure as the word, I'd look at it as more of a privilege to be included in the squad as South Africans face more pressures out there," Mbonambi said.

"I hope that I do my job well. The knee injury was a freak one and I was really gutted at the time that it happened.

"I've done my rehab and returned to training. I'm feeling more confident in my knee than I was three weeks ago."

Teams
South Africa

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

Argentina

15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Pedro Rubiolo, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Bautista Delguy

Mbonambi isn't a regular bencher, but said he's welcomed every opportunity to get stuck in for the Boks.

Joseph Dweba and Deon Fourie have been the hookers used in his absence, with the latter coming on at flank as Marx put in two full 80-minute performances in his past two Tests.

"I'm really happy to be back in the Springbok setup and I enjoy every opportunity that I get to be with my mates," Mbonambi said.

"We need to prepare well to ensure that when the game comes, we're ready to execute everything that is asked of us."

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