BRISBANE – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is set to make more subtle than wholesale changes to his side for this Saturday's clash against the Wallabies in Brisbane.
The Boks have had a week to reflect on their shock loss to Argentina in Mendoza, and have now settled in at their Brisbane base ahead of a defining fortnight of away fixtures against Australia and New Zealand.
The loss to Argentina has forced the Springboks into a "win at all costs" frame of mind, with the need to return to winning ways now set to take priority over any plans for experimentation in selection.
"After Argentina, we were planning to make quite a few changes to test a few things without making the team less effective or disrespecting Australia," Erasmus explained just prior to the team's departure from Johannesburg on Saturday.
"But we have put ourselves in a position where we have to win at all costs. We will definitely experiment less than we would have, but there will [still] be a few changes."
In terms of those changes that one can expect, Erasmus hinted that he would look to address an imbalance in the back row, with Pieter-Steph du Toit likely to reclaim a role at blindside flank, which could then see Siya Kolisi shit back to No 6.
There could also be a temptation to see how Francois Louw performs at No 8 in place of Warren Whiteley, who failed to impress in the first two Tests of the Rugby Championship.
Up front, Wilco Louw is surely due for a start at tighthead prop, while the recall of veteran Schalk Brits suggests he could be set for a role off the bench either this weekend or next.
Of course, the call-up of Toulouse utility back Cheslin Kolbe is the selection that has dominated headlines since last Friday, and there must be a strong possibility for the 24-year-old to at least earn a spot on the bench this Saturday.
Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel have also rejoined the squad, and Erasmus may well be tempted to make a double change in the midfield, with Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am having started at centre in the last two Tests with mixed results.
Erasmus said it would be important to give due consideration to begin settling on the most effective combinations as soon as possible.
"When I say experimenting, it is not recklessly taking one player who is 10 times worse or better than another and putting him in there. It is not experimenting for the sake of it. It is trying to find out who our best guys in each position are and who works well with who."
The Bok team will be named at 5am on Thursday (South African time).
African News Agency (ANA)