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PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa coach Allister Coetzee made three changes to his backline for the Rugby Championship clash with Australia on Saturday with a new half-back pairing and the return of Pat Lambie at fullback.
Lambie will play his first test since suffering concussion against Ireland in the June internationals and replaces Johan Goosen in the number 15 jersey.
“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,” Coetzee said on Thursday.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk have paid the price for indifferent form in the championship and are replaced by veteran Morne Steyn and Rudy Paige respectively.
For Steyn it is a first start in a Springbok jersey in two years since his missed kick to touch led to a late Australian try and victory in a Rugby Championship fixture in Perth.
“Elton and Faf remain an integral part of the squad and both are part of our future plans, but Rudy and Morne deserve an opportunity to start,” Coetzee said.
Coetzee has reshuffled his bench. Bongi Mbonambi, Julian Redelinghuys, Lood de Jager, Lionel Mapoe and Willie le Roux are all included among the reserves.
“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,” Coetzee said.
“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.”
Australia beat South Africa 23-17 in Brisbane earlier in the competition but have not won any of their previous six matches at Loftus Versfeld.
15-Pat Lambie, 14-Bryan Habana, 13-Jesse Kriel, 12-Juan de Jongh, 11-Francois Hougaard, 10-Morne Steyn, 9-Rudy Paige; 8-Warren Whiteley, 7-Oupa Mahoje, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Vincent Koch, 2-Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1-Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16-Bongi Mbonambi, 17-Steven Kitshoff, 18-Julian Redelinghuys, 19-Lood de Jager, 20-Willem Alberts, 21-Jaco Kriel, 22-Lionel Mapoe, 23-Willie le Roux.
Reporting By Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar