Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus could make several changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies in Brisbane.
Afrikaans publication Netwerk24, whose reporter Hendrik Cronje is with the Boks in Brisbane this week, reported on Tuesday that Erasmus could make up to SIX changes to the team that lost 32-19 to Argentina in Mendoza late last month.
In the front row, Steven Kitshoff could replace Tendai Mtawarira, while Bongi Mbonambi may replace Malcolm Marx at hooker, with the latter rested ahead of the showdown with the All Blacks in Wellington next Saturday (September 15).
Pieter-Steph du Toit could also come in for Francois Louw at flank, with Louw having had an indifferent game against Los Pumas in Mendoza.
The report added that changes to the backline can also be expected, with Elton Jantjies likely to get another start at flyhalf in place of Handre Pollard, who has struggled with his goal-kicking of late.
Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel could also form a new centre combination in place of Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am. Both De Allende (Western Province) and Kriel (Blue Bulls) got game time for their respective provinces in the Currie Cup in recent weeks.
The Boks will be eager to get back to winning ways after the disappointing result in Argentina.
But the same can be said of the Wallabies, who opened their Rugby Championship account with heavy defeats to the All Blacks in Sydney (38-13) and Auckland (40-12).
"They will be determined to bounce back and will no doubt be in our faces, so we need to prepare with the same intensity that we can expect from them on Saturday," assistant coach Matt Proudfoot said on Monday.
"We are in fact two teams looking to bounce back, so I think this game is going to be crucial for both sides, to see how each one responds.
"It will be a tight game played on the advantage line by both sides who will be looking to get on the front foot."
The Springbok team will be named early on Thursday morning (SA time).