Duane Vermeulen and Faf de Klerk return for South Africa for clash against Australia

Duane Vermeulen last played for South Africa during their victorious 2019 World Cup campaign
Duane Vermeulen last played for South Africa during their victorious 2019 World Cup campaign

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has made seven changes to the starting line-up as they face Australia in the third round of the Rugby Championship to be played at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.

Duane Vermeulen will make his first appearance since the victorious 2019 World Cup campaign after an injury kept him out of the series against the Lions and also the opening two rounds of the competition. He will be part of the back row that also has Franco Mostert and skipper Siya Kolisi.

Meanwhile, Faf de Klerk, who has been sidelined with injury that he sustained during the second Test against the Lions takes the scrum-half position with Handre Pollard taking the kicking responsibility. Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager starts at second row with a all new front row in action with Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe (both props) and Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) in the starting XV.

Cheslin Kolbe, who had a head knock in the previous game misses out with Sbu Nkosi taking his place at right wing and Makazole Mapimpi at left. Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende form the midfield partnership with Willie le Roux retained at fullback.

“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.”

South Africa starting XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré 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

Reserves: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Ox Nché, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Jasper Wiese, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Damian Willemse