The Springboks have played in Mendoza before, and there are good memories of the occasion.
Mendoza is a lovely place - a Karroo town with lots of water. The source of the water rises high behind Mendoza - the Andes and above all the massive height of Aconcagua, the highest mountaiun not in the Himalayas. The waters from the snows water Mendoza which still has in part the irrigation system of the pre-Spanish indigenous inhabitants.
Water and sunshine make Mendoza a centre for the cultivation of vines and olives. Wine and olive oil are at the heart of the place, but the most obvious growth are the trees - over 100 000 of them, for when a baby is born in Mendoza a tree is planted. Oh - not insignificantly - there is oil nearby.
In 1996 the Springboks, under André Markgraaff, went on a tour to Argentina, France and Wales. The first stop was Argentina where the hospitality was the warmest on earth, for the Springboks are idolised in Argentina. The team played on Rosario, won and managed to get back to Buenos Aires on the Sunday when the heavens dropped all their water on the city. They then played the Pumas in Buenos Aires and won, and then they flew to Mendoza for their third match - a country capital, a simpler place than mighty Buenos Aires.
This time the Springboks are in the Diplomatic Suite Hotel. Then the Springboks stayed in a wonderful but old Spanish Colonial Plaza Hotel just above the lovely park of Plaza Independencia. The hotel had a broad stoep that ran like a road across the whole of its front.
When the Springboks were there in 1996 there was a choir competition for schools and a huge crowd of choristers, boys and girls, gathered on the stoep and the was massive Toks van der Linde in the midst of them singing Figaro while they gazed up at him in rapturous awe.
The match this time is being played at the posh Estadio Malvinas Argentineas, built in 1976 for the World Cup in 1978 with a capacity of 45 000. In 1976, the ground was more rustic with big drainage pits near the touchline. There was no programme but pretty girls brought sparkling wine, which it is not politically correct to call champagne.
That Springboks team was huge - more than enough players for two teams and had a huge management team for the time - 11 in all, including the four coaches - André Markgraaff, Nick Mallett, Carel du Plessis and Hugh Reece Edwards. That means that nobody who had been in the Test team three days before were in this team but two of the Pumas who had played against the Springboks, Federico Méndez and Roberto Grau, went home to Mendoza to play. They then played in the second Test on the Saturday, playing against the Springboks three times in eight days.
Playing for South Africa was a slender, young wing from the Kouebokkeveld - Breyton Paulse, then just 20 years of age and a student at Stellenbosch University. His mother worked for the massive fruit farmers, the Du Toit brothers and two of them flew to Buenos Aires, saw that Breyton was settled and flew home without seeing him play.
He played that day all right, scoring four tries with his electric running. Breyton had arrived.
The Springboks' beat Cuyo 89-19. What really makes the match significant was Breyton Paulse.
Argentina have played two Tests in Mendoza - Italy and against Chile.
Teams in the match between the Springboks and Cuyo on 12 November 1996.
Springboks: Russell Bennett, André Snyman, Jeremy Thomson, who was making his Springbok debut at the age of 29, Dick Muir, Breyton Paulse, Franco Smith, Kevin Putt, Schutte Bekker, Theo Oosthuizen, Wayne Fyvie (captain), Fritz van Heerden, Krynauw Otto, Marius Hurter, Chris Rossouw, Garry Pagel
Cuyo: Alberto Castro, Gaston Diaz, Federico Serra, Carlos Filizola, Carlos Villaneuva, Leonardo Speroni, Manuel Diaz, Juan Chiapetta (captain), Gonzalo Correa Llano, Gaston Nasazzi, Miguel Ruíz, Pablo Lambert, Federico Méndez, Federico Bartolini, Roberto Grau.
Referee: Joël Dumé (France)
For South Africa:
Tries: Paulse, 4, Bekker 2, Bennett 2, Putt 2, Snyman, Thomson, Smith, Oosthuizen
Cons: Smith 7
Tries; Gaston Diaz 2, Lambert
Cons Speroni 2