Rugby Championship: Faf de Klerk returns as South Africa make two changes for Australia

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South Africa take on Australia in the first Rugby Championship game of the day on Saturday before New Zealand host Argentina; the matches are live back-to-back on Sky Sports Main Event and Arena from 6:20am

Last Updated: 22/08/22 11:40am

Faf de Klerk returns to South Africa’s starting line-up after recovering from concussion

Faf de Klerk returns to South Africa’s starting XV for their Rugby Championship match against Australia, live on Sky Sports on Saturday.

The Springboks’ encounter with the Wallabies is the first of two Rugby Championship matches on the day, with New Zealand later hosting Argentina. Coverage of the back-to-back matches starts at 6:20am on Sky Sports Main Event.

De Klerk will wear the nine jersey in Adelaide after recovering from the concussion he suffered against New Zealand earlier this month. The other change sees Warrick Gelant selected to start on the right wing in the place of the injured Jesse Kriel.

Gelant is the fourth right wing in as many Tests for the Springboks, after Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Kriel were all ruled out through either injury or suspension.

Nienaber has also made three changes on the replacements bench, which features a split of five forwards and three backs.

Rugby Championship – Saturday’s fixtures

Saturday at 6.30am Australia vs South Africa Sky Sports Main Event and Arena
Saturday at 8:45am New Zealand vs Argentina Sky Sports Main Event and Arena

“We looked at what Australia will bring to the game, and that combined with our need to give Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn some vital game time, prompted us to select five forwards and three backs on the bench,” Nienaber said.

“With Franco Mostert and Kwagga (Smith on the bench, we will have cover at lock and loose-forward, while Frans Steyn’s versatility will also be handy as he can cover centre and full-back.”

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Hooker Joseph Dweba, who was taken off after 30 minutes against New Zealand last time out, gets another chance to start, as does prop Ox Nche, and Frans Malherbe completes South Africa’s front row.

Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager join forces in the engine room, with captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen forming the back-row unit.

“We also feel it is important to give the likes of Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba and Duane Vermeulen another opportunity to further build combinations and give them valuable game time as we build toward the Rugby World Cup next year,” Nienaber added.

South Africa’s fans will hope for a first victory in Australia since 2013

South Africa have not won in Australia for nine years and their head coach is expecting another tough battle, despite the Wallabies’ limp display in their 48-17 loss to Argentina last time out.

“Australia are always a tough force at home and the fact that we haven’t beaten them here since 2013 is evidence of that,” Nienaber said.

“Much like us, they will also want to bounce back after going down against Argentina, so we expect them to come out firing.

“We had a thorough review of our last match against New Zealand, and we have identified the areas of our game in which we need to improve,” Nienaber continued.

“We know we need to make a big step up in the quality of our performance to start the tour on a positive note, and that is a big objective for us this weekend.”

South Africa: 15. Damian Willemse, 14. Warrick Gelant, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Handre Pollard, 9. Faf de Klerk, 1. Ox Nche, 2. Joseph Dweba, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Siya Kolisi (captain), 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8. Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Steven Kitshoff, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. Franco Mostert, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Jaden Hendrikse, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Frans Steyn.

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