JOHAN GOOSEN IS among three changes for the Springboks, with the fly-half handed his first Test start ahead of Morne Steyn against Australia.
The 20-year-old Cheetahs fly-half will run out onto Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday in place of Steyn, who was originally retained from the side that lost 21-11 to the All Blacks on September 15.
South Africa must beat the Wallabies and the All Blacks in their last two fixtures, while hoping Argentina shock New Zealand, if they are to compete for the inaugural Rugby Championship crown.
Youngster Eben Etzebeth is back from suspension and will return to the middle row with Western Province team-mate Andries Bekker. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer also announced four changes on the bench with Coenie Oosthuizen, Flip van der Merwe, Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute included.
Jantjies and Taute will debut if they come off the bench while Oosthuizen is back from injury.
“I’ve maintained from the outset that I won’t rush Johan (Goosen), but I feel he is now ready to start a Test for South Africa and I’m excited to see what he can bring,” Meyer said.
“Morne (Steyn), in the last four seasons, has played close to 140 matches at Test, Vodacom Super Rugby and Absa Currie Cup level and probably deserves a break, but this also provides a great opportunity for Johan, a player I rate very highly.
“Morne is a quality player and a fighter and I know he will bounce back.”
Australia have won the past five Tests between the sides but Meyer was comfortable with his reshuffle.
“It’s good to have Eben (Etzebeth) back with us. Flip (van der Merwe) played very well in Dunedin (against New Zealand), but he’s been struggling with an injury this week and that is why we decided to start with him on the bench,” he said.
“I also thought Andries (Bekker) did very well when he came on against New Zealand and he is an excellent jumper in the lineout as well.”
Meyer said the Springboks are looking forward to Saturday’s must-win Test after a draw with Argentina and back-to-back losses to Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s great to be back home in South Africa after three tough matches on the road,” he said. ”We were not happy with the results in Mendoza, Perth or Dunedin and we know how big the Test at Loftus Versfeld is on Saturday.
“The Australians will be tough opponents. We’ve now lost our last five Tests against them and need to turn this around.”