South Africa make late change for game against Australia

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber
©Steve Haag

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has made a late forced change for the Rugby Championship opener against Australia.

Ox Nche has suffered an injury to his pectoral muscle and is expected to be out of action for several weeks.

Steven Kitshoff, who was a late withdrawal from the South African squad has been named as Nche's replacement while former Junior Springbok prop Gerhard Steenekamp has been included in the squad for the rest of the Rugby Championship campaign.

Experienced prop Trevor Nyakane is also training with the squad in Pretoria and will continue to serve as back-up cover with Elton Jantjies and Herschel Jantjies for the Australia Test.

“It’s never ideal to lose a player to injury days before an important Test match, but unfortunately it’s part of the game,” said Nienaber.

“We are particularly sad for Ox because he’s been working very hard in the last few months and making a great contribution on and off the field. We wish him a speedy recovery.

“On the upside we have players like Steven and Trevor to fall back on, and with both players having been with us in Pretoria for the last three-and-a-half weeks, it’s an easy switch for this match.

“We’ve always emphasised the importance of being adaptable as a team and that will be particularly important this season with the Rugby Championship, World Cup warm-up games and the global showpiece itself coming up.”

South Africa squad(revised): 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Reserves: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Deon Fourie, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Damian Willemse