Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi is back and ready to fire against Argentina in a must-win Rugby Championship match at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
Mbanambi has been out with a knee injury for just over a month but returns to provide much-needed cover for the brilliant Malcolm Marks this weekend.
“The knee injury happened in Joburg before the second test against the All Blacks. It was just a freak accident that happened during training and I was very disappointed that it happened then,” Mbonambi said this week.
“But I’ve rehabbed, I’m back in training, the doctor and physio are happy and I feel a lot more confident about my knee than I did three weeks ago.
“Malcolm Marks really played well. The competition in this team is very tough and we are fighting for a place in the 23. It is never easy to recover from an injury and work hard to try to get back into the squad, so I am just happy to be back.”
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Mbonambi expects another massive battle going forward from the Argentinians and knows he can play a very important role alongside the bench unit.
“The Argentina game we saw last week was very good. They have a very good front row and a good pack,” Mbonambi said.
“Having (Augustin) Krivi back is a big boost for them because he is an experienced player and very important for them because he knows exactly what to do in scrums and knows most of the tricks that happen there. So it will be a huge test for both teams in the front row.”
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With utility Boca defender Frans Steyn set to start his first international game at flyhalf in 14 years, last against Italy in 2008, Mbanambi was asked if the forward had a plan to ease his workload.
“I don’t think a guy like Frans Stein really needs our help. He’s been in the quarterback longer than any of us and he knows exactly what’s needed from him, just like the forwards know what’s needed from them to make his job easier, not just for him, but for the whole team,” Mbanambi admitted.
“We all have a role to play, and if we can get it right, everyone will reach the goal for a job well done.”