Victor Matfield
Matfield is among a handful of players potentially taking their international bows  Getty Images

South Africa and Argentina will look to end their respective World Cup campaigns on a winning note in the third/fourth place play-off at the Olympic Stadium.

Where to watch

South Africa vs Argentina kicks off at 8pm BST on Friday 30 October. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio 5 Live.


"It doesn't mean anything to me, it's like kissing your sister." If you were in any doubt as to how two ferociously competitive teams who had a World Cup final appearance snatched from their grasp in two agonising semi-final defeats feel about the prospect of a bronze medal decider [as it is being unfortunately dubbed by the official organisers], then South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer perfectly summed it up in his post-match press conference after the loss to New Zealand. The Springboks face Argentina in the warm-up for the showcase final at Twickenham 20 hours later but the reality is those selected would much prefer to be on the plane home.

It throws into question why the match is taking place at all. The coaches and players clearly do not want to be involved having had the dream of the final snatched cruelly from them, journalists [of which I will be one] would much prefer to be preparing ahead of the final than experiencing a cold, inevitably wet October evening in east London and if the atmosphere at the other matches hosted at the Olympic Stadium are anything to go by, supporters will be far from keen either. Presumably, with the coffers of the organising committee needing topping up [category A tickets are priced at £175] by matchday, sponsorship and commercial revenue, it seems like too good an opportunity to turn down.

Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium has produced a sterile atmosphere during the World Cup  Getty Images

Amid the insignificant backdrop, it would however be naive to dismiss the third/fourth place play-off as being totally inconsequential. For South Africa, it could be a landmark evening for many of their esteemed squad. At a World Cup, if not on the international stage, it is likely to be the last we see of nominated captain Victor Matfield, backrow forward Schalk Burger and prop Tendai Mtawarira. Bryan Habana will also likely make his exit but there remains the tantalising prospect of him becoming the highest try scorer in World Cup history outright, should he touch down once against the Pumas. How anti-climactic. There also remains the unresolved future of Meyer, who is yet to be signed up beyond this tournament.

Argentina meanwhile have made nine changes from the loss to Australia, a game which saw them lose four frontline players to injury during the 80 minutes. Juan Imhoff, the hat-trick hero against South Africa at the Rugby Championship, is perhaps the most glaring omission. This game gives Daniel Hourcade – who is expected to be coaching Argentina for the final time at a World Cup – an opportunity to look to the future but Nicolas Sanchez is retained as he seeks to finish the tournament as the highest points scorer. The South American's spirit is emblazoned all over this competition and there is hope they have one more entertaining display in them. The fear, is a damp squib awaits in Stratford.

Rugby World Cup 2015: South Africa vs Argentina preview IBTimes UK


South Africa: 15. Willie le Roux, 14. JP Pietersen, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Damian De Allende, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Handré Pollard, 9. Ruan Pienaar; 1. Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Victor Matfield, 6. Francois Louw, 7. Schalk Burger , 8. Duane Vermeulen

Replacements: 16. Adriaan Strauss, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Jannie du Plessis, 19. Lodewyk de Jager, 20. Willem Alberts, 21. Rudy Paige, 22. Pat Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein

Argentina: 15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14. Santiago Cordero, 13. Matias Moroni, 12. Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11. Horacio Agulla, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Tomas Cubelli; 1. Marcos Ayerza, 2. Julian Montoya, 3. Ramiro Herrera, 4. Matias Alemanno, 5. Tomas Lavanini, 6. Javier Ortega Desio , 7. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 8. Juan Manuel Leguizamon

Replacements: 16. Lucas Noguera, 17. Juan Pablo Orlandi, 18. Juan Figallo, 19. Guido Petti, 20. Facundo Isa, 21. Martin Landajo, 22. Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23. Juan Pablo Socino

Nicolas Sanchez
Sanchez is the highest points scorer at the World Cup  Getty Images

What the coaches say

Heyneke Meyer: "The temptation was there to have some fresh players, but when you are playing for the Springboks and putting the Springbok jersey on you are still representing your country and representing their hopes and dreams. It is such a short turnaround and making changes wasn't the right thing."

"We want to go out there and win. They are a quality side, and have really improved as a nation and are top four. If we're not at our best it will be a difficult day. These guys have to go out there and show enough mental strength to play a strong match for our supporters.

"We really turned things around. We had difficulty starting this year and it would be great to finish with a strong performance, but they (Argentina) are a quality side. A lot of youngsters have put their hands up and I'm really proud of them."

Daniel Hourcade: "The most important thing I take from this World Cup is that all the results we got were the consequence of our game and that's what most obsesses me. I like to win as a consequence (of actions) and die with my boots on, doing our thing.

"Every game means a lot. Every game we are trying to reach the top and it will be fantastic to beat such a great team as South Africa. The changes have been forced on us by injuries and we have also analysed the huge workload of some players given that we have two days less rest than before our previous matches."