The break is over and the Rugby championship returns (ecstatically jumps, nearly throwing down the PC). The Springboks will be back in action on Saturday against the Wallabies having faltered in their previous match with Argentina a fortnight ago.
A slip up that gave the All Blacks a lot of breathing space at the top of the Rugby championship log, meaning that everything South Africa does from now on has to be perfect in a bid to wrestle the title away from the World Number one side.
In a bid to react to the loss in Mendoza, coach Rassie Erasmus has made 6 changes to the side that featured more than a week ago. There were wholesale changes in the front three with Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe set to start as Tendai Mtawarira and Malcolm Marx drop to the bench.
Captain Siya Kolisi returns to the blindside flanker role after playing on the opposite side of the scrum against the Pumas in Mendoza, Pieter-Steph du Toit comes to the openside flank position; Warren Whiteley completes the loose trio at No.8.
Under pressure Elton Jantjies is given a surprise starting berth at flyhalf with Handre Pollard moving to the bench, most likely a consequence of being outclassed by opposite number – Nicholas Sanchez, Faf de Klerk retains the scrum half role. In the midfield, Erasmus has swapped the entire centre combination bringing in Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel. The impressive Aphiwe Dyantyi will continue to perform alongside Makazole Mapimpi and the experienced Willie le Roux in a vibrant looking back three.
Cheslin Kolbe, who was previously considered to be too small for Test rugby has been handed a place on the bench and is expected to debut.
“Australia, playing at home, will no doubt be highly motivated to bounce back, so we have to be ready for a huge contest,” Coach Rassie Erasmus said.
“We have worked hard to rectify our errors of last week and we know the set piece and breakdown battles are going to especially be important.
“The Wallabies are known for their abilities at the breakdown and we will have to be accurate and disciplined in those areas.”
South Africa team to play Australia
Willie le Roux; Makazole Mapimpi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi; Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth; Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Embrose Papier, Handre Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe