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Springboks make 7 changes to their XV to face the Wallabies

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Jacques Nienaber has made seven changes to his Springboks team for Sunday’s Rugby Championship clash with the Wallabies in what will be South Africa’s first away Test match since their November 2019 World Cup final win over England. 


The Springboks come into the Championship game on the Gold Coast on the back of five wins in their six outings at home since their return to the international stage in July. Their last outing was the 29-10 win Championship win over Argentina in Port Elizabeth on August 21, an XV that had four changes in the pack compared to the team that started in the series decider versus the Lions on August 7. 

The changes now ringed by Nienaber to face the Wallabies include the return of fit-again Duane Vermeulen for his first Test match since the World Cup final in Yokohama. Also included is fit-again Faf de Klerk, who features for the first time since his July 31 injury versus the Lions in the second Test of that series. 

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Springboks assistant coach Deon Davids on the Dave Rennie factor
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Springboks assistant coach Deon Davids on the Dave Rennie factor

De Klerk comes in for Cobus Reinach at scrum-half in one of their two backline alterations, the other seeing Sbu Nkosi taking over from Cheslin Kolbe on the wing after the recent Toulon signing shipped a knock to his leg in training. 

The five other changes are in the pack where aside from Vermeulen taking over from Jasper Wiese at the back of the scrum, Eben Etzebeth comes in for Marvin Orie at lock and there is a new front row of Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi instead of Trevor Nyakane, Thomas du Toit and hooker Malcolm Marx. The Springboks bench also features a six/two forwards split which unusually includes three back row forwards in Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith and Wiese. 

“Duane has played an active role off the field in our team meetings and with the analysis of the opposition, and he has also provided guidance at training. He returned to full training when we arrived in Australia, so he has been in the thick of things for a while now,” explained Nienaber after naming his Springboks team for the round three Championship fixture. “Unfortunately, we lost Cheslin to injury, but we are fortunate to have Sbu who steps in. He’s been working hard at training and he is eager to get back on the field.”


SPRINGBOKS (vs Australia, Sunday)
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 66 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) – 12 caps, 40 pts (8t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 19 caps, 20 pts (4t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 51 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 18 caps, 80 pts (16t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 53 caps, 521 pts (6t, 82c, 105p, 4d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 32 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls) – 53 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 44 caps, 5pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 56 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 – Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 50 caps, 25 pts (5t)
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 90 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 43 caps, 5pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 41 caps, 40 pts (8t)
1 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 52 caps, 5pts (1t)
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 39 caps, 35 pts (7t)
17 – Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 4 caps, 0 pts
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 24 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marco van Staden (Leicester Tigers) – 6 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 12 caps, 5 pts (1t)
21 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 5 caps, 0 pts
22 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 14 caps, 25 pts (5t)
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 12 caps, 5pts (1t)


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