Reinstated scrum-half Nick Phipps believes the Wallabies forward pack has put the Bledisloe Cup battering behind them ahead of Saturday night's clash with South Africa at Patersons Stadium.

He has backed the tight-five to repair the damage caused by the All Blacks in the 51-20 Eden Park drubbing as they face a typically tough Springboks pack led by evergreen second-rower Victor Matfield.

Phipps, called into the starting side for the first time in more than two years at the expense of Nic White, said the defeat had brought plenty of soul-searching to the pack when they assembled in Perth this week.

"They are stinging after two weeks ago. Our tight five are pretty filthy about what happened," the 25-year-old said.

"That's in the past, now we've got a massive challenge.

"It's been a pretty big focus at the beginning of this week just to shrug it off and get that energy back up.

"Looking forward no one is depressed, no one is sitting on their hands. We're pumped to get back into it and gain a bit of honour.

"It's a very big focus for us this week that we stand up and really be counted."

Phipps, who was likened to an extra forward by coach Ewen McKenzie, has been reunited with his Waratahs halves partner Bernard Foley for the clash.

"It's good knowing that he's outside me," Phipps said.

"I played a fair bit of footy with Bernie growing up. Knowing that my little mate's outside me is quite calming and relieving.

"I know what he wants to try and do."

Phipps believed he had earned the starting spot ahead of White.

"This is a lot different to some of the other starts I've had before," he said.

"Before, they were off the back of a few injuries and a few lean opportunities. Being able to completely earn it is very relieving.

"I think I'm a completely different player now than I was four years ago.

"I'm not going to sit back and say I just want to hold on to the jersey. I want to improve, I want the boys to go well. I want the very best out of the Wallabies."

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer has made six changes to his starting side with veteran lock Matfield, 37, one of four changes in the forwards.

He has also recalled hooker Adriaan Strauss, prop Tendai Mtawarira and abrasive flanker Marcell Coetzee.


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

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