Springboks tip ‘massive’ set piece battle

Springboks coach Allister Coetzee has tipped a “physical onslaught” against Australia after shuffling his backline and picking six bench forwards for Saturday night’s Rugby Championship Test.

The inclusion of the versatile Francois Hoogaard has enabled Coetzee to stack his reserves with locks Franco Mostert and Pieter-Steph de Toit, as well as prop Trevor Nyakane, who has recovered from an ankle injury.

It comes as the South Africans look to play themselves back into form after a 26-24 loss to Argentina by heaping further pressure on the Wallabies’ malfunctioning set-piece unit.

“It’s going to be a massive scrumming contest. Set piece will be crucial,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.

“The Wallabies always had a really outstanding lineout. It will be a challenge.

“I don’t look at one game and think that will be a weakness – never. That’s why we’re creating more jumping options for us.

“You’ve got to come up with a special performance in Australia if you want to beat the Wallabies.”

The Springboks have made just one change to their starting pack with tighthead Lourens Adriaanse to earn his first start in place of Vincent Koch.

The rest of the changes are in the backs, where Coetzee has dumped centres Damien de Allende and Lionel Mapoe for an all-new combination of Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel.

De Jongh and Hoogaard both won rugby bronze medals for South Africa at the Rio Olympics.

Kriel scored on his Test debut at Suncorp Stadium last year, although the Wallabies won that match thanks to a try from Tevita Kuridrani at the death.

Hoogaard, who can also cover halfback, replaces the injured Ruan Combrink, prompting a switch for veteran Bryan Habana from the left wing to the right.

Coetzee said de Allende, who also made his first international appearance last year, hadn’t shown “sufficient improvement” in South Africa’s last four outings.

South Africa won their opening Rugby Championship match at home to Argentina 30-23 before their loss in Salta but Coetzee bristled at suggestions the Springboks have lost their aura.

“The Boks will never lose their aura, never. If any team thinks that is the case they do it at their own peril,” he said.

South Africa: Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Jesse Kriel, Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Warren Whiteley, Oupa Mahoje, Francois Louw, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Franco Mostert, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaco Kriel, Morne Steyn, Lionel Mapoe.

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