Australia makes 4 changes, all in pack, for Springboks test

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — Australia made four changes Thursday, all of them in the forwards, for the Rugby Championship test against South Africa this weekend.

Prop Taniela Tupou will make his first test start on Saturday in Port Elizabeth after a run of strong performances off the bench, while captain Michael Hooper is back in the starting lineup after missing the home loss to Argentina on Sept. 15. Hooper's return at openside flanker means David Pocock switches back to No. 8.

Ned Hanigan comes in at blindside flanker for Lukhan Tui, who didn't travel for family reasons, and Adam Coleman is in the starting 15 and will partner Izack Rodda in the second row. Rory Arnold drops to the bench.

Australia's backline was unchanged, keeping Kurtley Beale at flyhalf and Matt Toomua at inside center.

The Springboks, rejuvenated by a surprise win in New Zealand, will give first starts to wing Cheslin Kolbe, a tryscorer against the All Blacks off the bench, and No. 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe. Notshe replaces Warren Whiteley, who is injured.

South Africa also has a changed center pairing of Andre Esterhuizen and Jesse Kriel after injuries to Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am. Tendai Mtawarira returns at loosehead prop for Steven Kitshoff.

The teams have headed in opposite directions since Australia won their meeting in Brisbane nearly three weeks ago. The Wallabies followed up that success with a surprise home loss to Argentina, putting the pressure back on coach Michael Cheika.

The Springboks, off back-to-back losses that had coach Rassie Erasmus talking about the possibility of being fired, won in New Zealand for the first time in nearly a decade.

South Africa's 36-34 victory over the world champions in Wellington meant there is still a slim chance the Boks can prevent New Zealand from securing a third straight southern hemisphere title and a sixth in the last seven years.


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