Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has included Francois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel in a revamped backline for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.
In the only change amongst the forwards, tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse will earn his first start for the Springboks in place of Vincent Koch, while Eben Etzebeth will become the youngest player ever to reach the milestone of 50 Tests for South Africa this weekend.
Coetzee made four changes in total to the back division which featured in the loss to Argentina in Salta two week ago. One of them is because of injury while another is a positional switch.
Hougaard comes into the side as replacement for Ruan Combrinck, who suffered a fractured leg against the Pumas, and he will play on the left wing, meaning the experienced Bryan Habana moves over to the right.The new centre combination of De Jongh and Jesse Kriel gets a run in the place of Damian de Allende and Lionel Mapoe, who has been included on the replacements bench. De Jongh and Kriel both featured as replacements for South Africa in the first two Tests against Argentina, in Nelspruit and Salta.
Franco Mostert has been included as one of the six forward replacements, and the bench also features prop Trevor Nyakane, who has shrugged off his ankle niggle.
Towering lock Etzebeth will become the 32nd Springbok to reach 50th Test matches, at the age of 24 years, nine months and 12 days, surpassing the record previously held by Pat Lambie (25y, 14d). Meanwhile, the big No 4 will also play in his 27thconsecutive match for the Springboks.
In another noticeable milestone, loose head prop Tendai Mtawarira is set to play in his 81st Test match thereby becoming the most capped prop in Springbok history, surpassing the record previously held by Os du Randt.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said he is excited to see what impact the new players in the team can make in what will be a big challenge on Saturday.
“Looking at the impact that Juan and Jesse made when they came off the bench in Nelspruit and Salta, then I think now is the right time to give them a starting opportunity,” said Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to play together as a centre combination and both have Test match experience. Juan’s ability to organise at 12 and his calmness in that role will help to guide Elton in his flyhalf duties.”
Regarding the change in the front row, Coetzee said: “Lourens made a good impact when he came off the bench and we are looking for a similar impact with his inclusion in the starting team. Trevor is fully fit again and he offers us the option of playing on either side of the scrum.”
Coetzee reckons the Springboks will benefit from the versatility of Hougaard, who has already played in 35 Tests for the Springboks.
“Francois covers two positions for us, on the wing and scrumhalf and apart from that he has other good attributes,” said Coetzee.
“He is very competitive and his defensive work is solid because he contests very hard on the ground and his a good finisher.”
Coetzee also said the ability of Australia to hold on to the ball through long spells means the Springbok defence will have to be patient and solid.
“The Wallabies are known for their ability to hold onto the ball for long phases, so we are preparing ourselves to make a lot of tackles and to be organised on defence,” said Coetzee, who added that he is expecting the players on the bench to yet again make a strong impact.
“Our bench has made a real impact in each match we’ve played this season. After looking at the Australia versus New Zealand matches, we realise the physical intensity of the forward exchanges, and that’s why we feel that a fresh tight five can sustain the physical intensity.”
The Springbok team to face Australia in Brisbane:
|Position||Name||Franchise / Province / Club||Test Caps||Test points|
|15||Johan Goosen||Racing 92 (France)||8||15|
|14||Bryan Habana||Toulon (France)||119||325|
|13||Jesse Kriel||Vodacom Bulls||14||15|
|12||Juan de Jongh||DHL Stormers||15||15|
|11||Francois Hougaard||Worcester Warriors (England)||35||25|
|10||Elton Jantjies||Emirates Lions||7||57|
|9||Faf de Klerk||Emirates Lions||5||0|
|8||Warren Whiteley||Emirates Lions||8||10|
|7||Oupa Mohoje||Toyota Cheetahs||10||0|
|6||Francois Louw||Bath (England)||48||40|
|5||Lood de Jager||Toyota Cheetahs||22||20|
|4||Eben Etzebeth||DHL Stormers||49||10|
|3||Lourens Adriaanse||Cell C Sharks||2||0|
|2||Adriaan Strauss (captain)||Vodacom Bulls||59||30|
|1||Tendai Mtawarira||Cell C Sharks||80||10|
|16||Bongi Mbonambi||DHL Stormers||1||0|
|17||Steven Kitshoff||Bordeaux (France)||3||0|
|18||Trevor Nyakane||Vodacom Bulls||25||5|
|19||Franco Mostert||Emirates Lions||2||0|
|20||Pieter-Steph du Toit||DHL Stormers||13||15|
|21||Jaco Kriel||Emirates Lions||3||0|
|22||Morné Steyn||Stade Francais (France)||62||700|
|23||Lionel Mapoe||Emirates Lions||6||0|
Stats and facts
Head to head:
· South Africa and Australia will play each other for the 82nd time since their first Test match in 1933. South Africa won 45, lost 35 and one match was drawn for a win percentage of 56% for the Boks.
· The inaugural Tri-Nations Test match between Australia and South Africa was played in Sydney on 13 July, 1996. To date 43 matches were played between the two countries of which South Africa won 21, lost 21 and drawn 1. The total points difference is only 13 points in favour of South Africa.
· South Africa’s overall record against Australia in the Tri-Nations / Castle Lager Rugby Championship is: Played 43, Won 21, Lost 21, Drawn 1, Points for 964, Points against 951, Tries for 92, Tries against 94, Average score 22-22.
· The match officials for this match are: Referee – Nigel Owens (Wales); Assistant referees – Wayne Barnes (England) and Pascal Gaüzère (France) with the TMO Ben Skeen (New Zealand).
· It will be Owens’ 14th appearance as referee in Test matches involving South Africa. The Springboks lost five and won eight of the previous Tests when the Welshman was referee.
· Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane has a seating capacity of 52 500. The Springboks’ record at this stadium is: Played 9, Won 2, Lost 7, Points for 172, Points against 239, Tries for 19, Tries against 24. The average score is 19-27.
· The most points scored in a Test match by a Springbok at this stadium are 21, when Derick Hougaard scored a “full house” against Samoa during the 2003 RWC match with one try, five conversions, a penalty goal and a drop goal.
· Morné Steyn holds the Springbok career record for most points at Suncorp Stadium. In three outings he has scored three conversions, six penalty goals and a drop goal for 27 points.
· The total Test caps in the starting line-up is 481 – of these, 203 caps are in the backline and 278 amongst the forwards, while the number of caps on the bench is 115. The average caps per player for the match-23 are 26.
· Adriaan Strauss will be captaining the Springboks for the sixth time in his 60th Test.
· Bryan Habana needs one appearance in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship to reach 50 tournament appearances, thereby equalling the Springbok record held by Jean de Villiers. It will also be his 120th Test match in the Green and Gold. He needs one try against Australia for his career record 10th try against the Wallabies.
· Eben Etzebeth will play in his 27th consecutive Test match which will also be his 50th Test in Springbok rugby. At the age of 24 years, 9 months and 12 days he will be the youngest Springbok ever to play in his 50th Test match and he will be the 32nd Springbok to achieve this milestone.
· Tendai Mtawarira will play in his 81st Test match thereby becoming the most capped Springbok prop in history.
· Morné Steyn needs four successful penalty goals to equal Percy Montgomery’s career record of 148 penalty goals in Test matches. He is also co-record holder with four drop goals in his Castle Lager Rugby Championship career, the other players being Dan Carter of New Zealand and fellow Springbok André Pretorius.
· Castle Lager Rugby Championship debuts: Bongi Mbonambi and Franco Mostert could make their tournament debut, should they be used off the bench.
· The following two players will play their first Test match against the Wallabies: Lourens Adriaanse and Faf de Klerk. Should they be used off the bench, it will also be a first against Australia for Pieter-Steph du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Jaco Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Bongi Mbonambi and Franco Mostert.