Rudy Paige will make his starting debut for the Springboks on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in the team’s penultimate Castle Lager Rugby Championship fixture of the year
The inclusion of Paige at scrumhalf is one of three changes made to the Springbok line-up that started the match against the All Blacks two weeks ago in Christchurch.
Paige, who has made four Test appearances from the Bok bench, will partner the experienced Morné Steyn in the halfbacks. They take over from Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies respectively, both of whom started in the last six Tests of the year.
The only other change to the starting line-up sees Pat Lambie return to the team for the first time since he suffered concussion in the series opener against Ireland in June. Lambie will play fullback, where he is preferred over Johan Goosen. The Cell C Sharks player, who will earn his 52nd Springbok cap, has already scored 137 Test points in the Green and Gold jersey.
The Springbok forward pack that played against the All Blacks in Christchurch was kept unchanged, with hooker Adriaan Strauss again leading out the team after he suffered a knock to the lower back in New Zealand.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has reshuffled his bench, which shows five changes from the previous match-23. Bongi Mbonambi, Julian Redelinghuys, Lood de Jager, Lionel Mapoe and Willie le Roux are all included amongst the reserves and they are expected to make a strong impact off the bench.
Coetzee said the team is looking forward to the Test at Loftus Versfeld, where the Springboks are unbeaten in five previous Castle Lager Rugby Championship Tests against the Wallabies.
“We had a very good training week so far and there is definitely excitement amongst the players to play in front of our South African supporters again as we continue to build continuity with just the three changes to the starting team and an unchanged pack of forwards,” said Coetzee.
“Pat has shown great confidence all week long and we are very pleased to have him back, as well as Lood and Julian, both of who have also shrugged off injuries. Willie will add a lot of experience on the bench.
“The selection of Pat at fullback fits into the way we want to play this weekend, together with his experience, calmness and leadership, which will be invaluable this weekend. Elton and Faf remain an integral part of the squad and both are part of our future plans, but Rudy and Morné deserve an opportunity to start.
“Australia will be determined to build on their previous two wins and they will pose difficult questions to us with their tactical and technical approach. We have our own goals to achieve within the two remaining matches, starting on Saturday when we play the Wallabies in front of a good crowd at Loftus.”
The Springbok team to face the Wallabies in Pretoria:
15. Pat Lambie (Cell C Sharks) 51 caps, 137 points
14. Bryan Habana (vice-captain, Toulon, France) 121 caps, 330 points
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls) 16 caps, 15 points
12. Juan de Jongh (DHL Stormers) 17 caps, 15 points
11. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors, England) 37 caps, 25 points
10. Morné Steyn (Stade Francais, France) 64 caps, 703 points
9. Rudy Paige (Vodacom Bulls) 4 caps, 0 points
8. Warren Whiteley (Emirates Lions) 10 caps, 15 points
7. Oupa Mohoje (Toyota Cheetahs) 12 caps, 0 points
6. Francois Louw (Bath, England) 50 caps, 40 points
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers) 15 caps, 15 points
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers) 51 caps, 10 points
3. Vincent Koch (DHL Stormers/Steval Pumas) 5 caps, 0 points
2. Adriaan Strauss (captain, Vodacom Bulls) 61 caps, 30 points
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks) 82 caps, 10 points
16. Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) 2 caps, 0 points
17. Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux, France) 5 caps, 0 points
18. Julian Redelinghuys (Emirates Lions), 6 caps, 0 points
19. Lood de Jager (Toyota Cheetahs), 23 caps, 20 points
20. Willem Alberts (Stade Francais, France) 39 caps, 35 points
21. Jaco Kriel (Emirates Lions) 5 caps, 0 points
22. Lionel Mapoe (Emirates Lions), 7 caps, 0 points
23. Willie le Roux (Canon Eagles, Japan) 37 caps, 45 points