Wallabies and Springboks opt for new looks
August 28, 2009
Ruan Pienaar starts at fullback for the Springboks © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans has made four changes to his side for this weekend's vital Tri-Nations clash against South Africa in Perth.
The Wallabies are currently bottom of the table after three straight defeats with the latest coming at the hands of cross-Tasman rivals New Zealand last weekend. As a result they must win their remaining matches and hope other results go their way if they are to upset the odds and clinch the title.
In what could prove to be a clever bid to revitalise his side's campaign, Deans has selected six members of the Western Force side that call the Subiaco Oval home for Saturday night's clash that will also double as the second Mandela Challenge Plate Test of the year.
Fullback James O'Connor, centre Ryan Cross, fly-half Matt Giteau and No.8 Richard Brown have all been named to start while flanker David Pocock and winger Drew Mitchell could be involved from the bench. Ben Alexander replaces Al Baxter in the front-row, while Adam Ashley Cooper shifts to No.12 in place of the injured Berrick Barnes.
The Springboks currently lead the way and are unbeaten so far in this year's tournament. Ruan Pienaar will start at fullback ahead of Frans Steyn in the only change to the starting side that accounted for the Wallabies in Cape Town on August 8, with Steyn dropping to the bench. In a second change, flank Schalk Burger returns to the bench in place of Danie Rossouw, who is recovering from injury.
Burger has completed his eight-week ban for making contact with the eyes of British & Irish Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald.
Australia: James O'Connor, Lachie Turner, Ryan Cross, Adam Ashley Cooper, Peter Hynes, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Richard Brown, George Smith (captain), Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson
Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Al Baxter, Dean Mumm, David Pocock, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Drew Mitchell
South Africa: Ruan Pienaar, JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie , Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Heinrich Brüssow, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, John Smit (captain), Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Jannie du Plessis, Andries Bekker, Schalk Burger, Ricky Januarie, Adi Jacobs, Frans Steyn
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Vinny Munro (New Zealand) Television match official: Keith Brown (New Zealand)