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Boks need more black players: Tutu Salta weather forecast lifts Pumas, Springboks

 SALTA, Argentina, Aug 22, (AFP): Argentina and South Africa have been cheered by the weather forecast as they prepare for a Rugby Championship second-round match in provincial city Salta Saturday. It is expected to be clear and warm at the 20,000-seat Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in the north-western city when the Pumas and the Springboks clash for the second time within eight days.

South Africa were 13-6 winners last weekend in a southern hemisphere tournament opener ruined by unseasonal monsoon-like conditions at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria.
 
Persistent torrential rain turned the ball into a bar of soap and swiftly put paid to dreams of the convincing, four-try bonus-point win every Springbok follower had anticipated. And an impressive display by the Argentine pack has given the South Americans hope that they can finally end a 13-match win-less run since the Championship launch two years ago. History also offers the Pumas hope as they held the Springboks 16-16 in Mendoza two seasons ago and were unlucky 22-17 losers at the same stadium a year later.
 
“We are going to play the game we had planned for Pretoria, but could not execute because of the dire weather,” Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade told reporters. His team appears stronger with the return of vastly experienced inside centre Juan Martin Hernandez, a late injury withdrawal from the Pretoria Test.
The other change to the side is also in the backline with Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino replacing Horacio Agulla on the right wing. “These are changes we anticipated making with Juan Martin returning after being kept out of the Pretoria match by a niggle,” explained Hourcade.
 
“We also wanted to rotate — but not too much as that could affect the team structure.” Hourcade, who succeeded Santiago Phelan after a six-loss 2013 Championship campaign, says the three changes to the Springboks pack is a compliment to the Pumas. “They are a clear indication of the problems we created, but the Springboks will come here to fix them.” The demoted South African forwards are loose-head prop Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira, veteran lock Bakkies Botha and flanker Marcell Coetzee.
Experienced Gurthro Steenkamp comes in for Mtawarira, youthful Eben Etzebeth replaces Botha, and veteran Juan Smith is recalled after a near four-year absence for Coetzee.Meanwhile, South Africa’s Springbok rugby team should include more black players, Nobel peace prize laureate and leading anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu said Friday.
 
The widely-respected former Anglican archbishop criticised what he called the “tortoise pace” at which racial integration has taken place in the national team since the end of apartheid 20 years ago. “Particularly hurtful is the selection of black players as peripheral squad members, never given the chance to settle down and earn their spurs,” he said in a letter to the Cape Times. The Springboks, who are ranked as number two in the world, play Argentina on Saturday with two black Africans on the bench but none in the starting 15. Three players of mixed race — known here as “coloureds” — will start the game alongside 12 whites.

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