CAPE TOWN - The Springboks have welcomed back Duane Vermeulen, but will be without star wing Cheslin Lolbe for their Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Gold Coast.
Vermeulen will make his first appearance for the Springboks since the World Cup final. The No 8 has recovered fully from the ankle surgery he had earlier this year.
There are also a number of other players returning from injury.
Scrumhalves Faf de Klerk (leg strain) and Herschel Jantjies (hip pointer), and flank Marco van Staden (ankle) are all back from injury.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber made 13 changes to the side that faced Argentina in the home leg of the Championship. Seven of those changes are in the starting lineup and six on the bench.
Five of the changes to the starting team that defeated Argentina 29-10 in their second meeting in Nelson Mandela Bay were amongst the forwards.
Up front, Vermeulen returns to the back of the scrum in the place of Jasper Wiese, with Eben Etzebeth in for Marvin Orie at lock. Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi form the all-new front row.
In the backline, Sbu Nkosi replaces Kolbe, who took a knock to the leg during training last Friday, while De Klerk returns at scrumhalf after missing the decisive Test against the British & Irish Lions and the two Tests against Argentina.
The bench features a six-two split and three loose forwards, with Malcolm Marx (hooker), Ox Nché, Vincent Koch (both props), Van Staden, Wiese and Jantjies, meanwhile, will join Damian Willemse (utility back) and Kwagga Smith (loose forward).
“We have been following the progress of the injured players on a daily basis, so we knew that we would be in a position to select most of them for this match,” said Nienaber.
“Duane has played an active role off the field in our team meetings and with the analysis of the opposition, and he has also provided guidance at training. He returned to full training when we arrived in Australia, so he has been in the thick of things for a while now.
“Unfortunately, we lost Cheslin to injury, but we are fortunate to have Sbu who steps in. He’s been working hard at training and he is eager to get back on the field.”
Springbok team to face Australia in Gold Coast:
Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse.