Rugby: Boks shake up backline for Brisbane

South Africa's halfback Francois Hougaard. Photo / Brett Phibbs
South Africa's halfback Francois Hougaard. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Francois Hougaard has been selected on the wing as one of three changes in a revamped South African backline for their Rugby Championship match against Australia in Brisbane tomorrow.

Still smarting from the 26-24 loss to Argentina in Salta last time out, coach Allister Coetzee has named a new centre pairing of Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel.

The inclusion of Hougaard, who won an Olympic sevens bronze medal last month, for the injured Ruan Combrink was enforced and means veteran Bryan Habana switches from left wing to right.

De Jongh, another who played at the Rio Olympics, and Kriel replaced Damien de Allende and Lionel Mapoe.

"Francois covers two positions for us, on the wing and scrumhalf and, apart from that, he has other good attributes," Coetzee said.

"Francois is very competitive and his defensive work is solid because he contests very hard on the ground."

In the only change to the forward pack, tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse will earn his first start in place of Vincent Koch.

Lock Eben Etzebeth will become the youngest player to reach the milestone of 50 tests for South Africa at 24 years, nine months and 12 days, beating the previous mark of five-eighth Pat Lambie by three months.

Loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira will play his 81st test, becoming the most capped prop in Bok history heading off two-time World Cup winner Os du Randt.

Australian coach Michael Cheika has once again turned to Dean Mumm to solve the Wallabies' lineout woes, recalling the veteran at Scott Fardy's expense.

Mumm will start at No6, with Fardy dropping out of the squad entirely in a massive selection call by Cheika for the Suncorp Stadium clash.

The 32-year-old stole more lineouts than any other player, except for New Zealand's Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick, at last year's World Cup.

Mumm also won seven lineouts coming off the bench in last month's two Bledisloe Cup defeats - twice as many as the next best Australian, with the team's success rate at just 69 per cent so far in the Rugby Championship.

His inclusion is one of just two changes to the team that lost 29-9 to the All Blacks in Wellington, with Reece Hodge coming in for Adam Ashley-Cooper.

- NZ Herald

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