Peter de Villiers, the South Africa coach, is expecting a high-paced Tri Nations encounter with Australia on Saturday after shuffling his pack in an effort to reverse his side's fortunes following consecutive losses at the hands of New Zealand. De Villiers explained that the changes to his side were influenced in part by the characteristics of the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
"Statistics show that Suncorp has the fastest playing surface in Super 14 and we have to be prepared for a faster game," he said. "We have two tough games behind us, but if we stick to our structures and use our opportunities I believe this team is capable of getting a result." The South Africa match-day squad shows four changes to the starting XV and a further five among the replacements from the 22-man squad that lost 31-17 to the All Blacks in Wellington.
Gio Aplon, who was on the bench for the last Test, starts in place of the suspended Jean de Villiers on the right wing while Ruan Pienaar comes in for Ricky Januarie at scrum-half. BJ Botha starts ahead of CJ van der Linde at tight-head prop while Ryan Kankowski replaces Francois Louw on the flank. Van der Linde drops to the bench, with other changes among the replacements seeing Flip van der Merwe, Dewald Potgieter, Francois Hougaard and Juan de Jongh come in.
Andries Bekker is out with a back injury while Januarie and Louw have been dropped from the match-day squad. Meanwhile, Robbie Deans, the Australia coach, welcomes back three of his big guns. Forwards Benn Robinson and Nathan Sharpe, and livewire half-back Will Genia all return to the starting line-up after missing Australia's last Test against Ireland in June because of injury. While Robinson, Sharpe and Genia have all been passed fit to make the run-on side, fellow returnee Stephen Moore will start from the bench after a two-month absence with a broken jaw.
Saia Faingaa, the Queensland Reds hooker, continues in the starting role for the fourth straight Test in Moore's absence. In another switch, Adam Ashley-Cooper and James O'Connor will swap positions in the back line, with Ashley-Cooper reverting to full-back, while O'Connor will start on the wing. "It's really good to have a few of the troops back who have been unavailable to us, and Benn and Stephen especially, given that we haven't had access to them thus far during our program," Deans said. "Benn has had a little bit more background than Stephen, in terms of having been able to get under way a little bit earlier after his injury, which is why he's ready to start while we are easing Stephen back in off the bench." The Springboks are the defending Tri Nations champions but have started the series with back-to-back defeats in New Zealand. * Agencies
SOUTH AFRICA Backs Zane Kirchner, Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar Forwards Pierre Spies, Ryan Kankowski, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, BJ Botha, John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp AUSTRALIA Backs Adam Ashley Cooper, James O'Connor, Rob Horne, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Will Genia Forwards Richard Brown, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom (captain), Nathan Sharpe, Dean Mumm, Salesi Ma'afu, Saia Fainga, Benn Robinson