But it will be an occasion to relish for the Pumas, who have been lobbying for the last five years to be awarded a seat at the top table of international rugby.
The catalyst for change was Argentina's third-placed finish at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, a tournament in which they beat hosts France twice.
Agustin Pichot retired soon after and he led a powerful lobbying group, which convinced the International Rugby Board in 2010 to help fund the Pumas' entry into an expanded Tri-Nations to the tune of £6.5million.
The Argentina Rugby Union had to embrace professionalism and the IRB money helped convince Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to include them in a new competition.
Five years' work will culminate on Saturday, when Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe leads the Pumas out into battle against the Springboks.
But Argentina are acutely aware that, while arriving at kick-off is an achievement, it must only be the start. At present they are only in the competition for the duration of the four-year television deal.
"We're about to live through something that we haven't previously experienced," said coach Santiago Phelan.
"Obviously, this curiosity brings on adrenaline, excitement, expectation and desire, but the truth is that we still don't know for sure what it will be like to play in it.
"A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring we produce a good game and I believe playing against the three best teams in the world will help us improve.
"We are very excited and happy. Argentina have waited for this opportunity for a very long time and the six tests we play during the next eight weeks are so important to us."
Argentina recruited New Zealand's World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry in an advisory role ahead of the tournament and they are not inexperienced on the big stage.
Although Felipe Contepomi is not available, veteran prop Rodrigo Roncero will win his 50th cap and fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez returns after missing the World Cup through injury.
Argentina, World Cup quarter-finalists last October, beat Italy and France in June but they have never defeated the Springboks in 13 previous encounters.
South Africa, who beat England 2-0 in their June series, have made six changes to the side that drew the last of those three Tests including Keegan Daniel for the injured Pierre Spies at number eight.
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