Matfield back as Boks ring changes
Victor Matfield. Pic: AP

South Africa have made six changes to their starting line for the clash with Australia at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.

Centre Jan Serfontein and fly-half Morne Steyn will start in the backline, while flanker Marcell Coetzee, second row Victor Matfield, hooker Adriaan Strauss and prop Tendai Mtawarira have been included in the pack.

Bismarck du Plessis, Lood de Jager and Damian de Allende shift to the reserves with Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe and Pat Lambie also joining the uncapped Warren Whiteley on the bench.

Coach Heyneke Meyer said he had always intended rotating players after the narrow win over Argentina.

“We were always planning in moving our personnel around during the competition,” Meyer said.

“The only new player in the team is Warren, whom I’m very happy for and excited to see what he can do. He covers all three positions in the loose trio and can make an impact later in the game.

“It’s also good to see Pat back in the frame. He’s completed his comeback from a long-term injury and will provide necessary bench cover for flyhalf and fullback.

“Saturday’s Test against Australia will take a massive effort from every member of our squad. We’re not looking at their recent result against New Zealand and we know they will be a tough opponent.

“Similarly, we need to move on from our victories over Argentina, which are now in the past. This is a new challenge and one we have to overcome to stay alive in the competition.”

Matfield made his Test comeback earlier this year after retiring following the 2011 Rugby World Cup, while winger Bryan Habana will become the fourth Springbok to play 100 Tests.

Habana, 31, made his debut for South Africa against England at Twickenham on 20 November 2004 and holds the record for the most Test tries for the Springboks

His 56 Test tries places him fourth on the list of all-time international try scorers.

The three-time South African Rugby Player of the Year (2004, 2007 and 2012), who was also named the IRB Rugby Player of the Year in 2007, will lead the Springboks out on Saturday as he follows Percy Montgomery, John Smit and Victor Matfield in amassing 100 Tests.

“This is an unbelievable achievement by Bryan, who is someone every South African can be immensely proud of,” Meyer said.

“Bryan is a true professional and someone who never gives anything but his best, on the field and off it. For him to reach this magnificent milestone is just reward for years of dedication and hard work.

“Apart from scoring tries and always giving 100% on the field, Bryan is also a humble servant to the game and a true ambassador for his family, his friends and his country. He will go down in history as one of the greatest rugby players of all time.

“He is always looking for improvement – I’ve never seen him play a bad game in the Springbok jersey.”

South Africa: Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield, Francois Louw, Marcell Coetzee, Duane Vermeulen, Ruan Pienaar, Morné Steyn, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (capt), Jan Serfontein, Cornal Hendricks, Willie le Roux. Reserves: Bismarck du Plessis, Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe, Lood de Jager, Warren Whiteley, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Damian de Allende.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West