Cronje and Du Toit start for Springboks, Pollard on bench

The fit-again Ross Cronje will start South Africa's Rugby Championship match against Australia in one of two changes to the Springboks side, while Handre Pollard is available to make his international comeback off the bench.

Cronje missed South Africa's away victory over Argentina due to an ankle ligament sprain, but returns for Saturday's match in Perth with Francois Hougaard back among the replacements.

Head coach Allister Coetzee has also brought in Pieter-Steph du Toit at lock, with Franco Mostert rested due to his heavy workload in 2017.

Pollard, meanwhile, is included in South Africa's matchday squad for the first time since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He will provide cover for fly-half Elton Jantjies after a prolonged spell on the sidelines through injury.

Coetzee said of Pollard: "I am really satisfied with the way he has trained until now and it's great for the team to have a player of his calibre on the bench."

Explaining the decision to leave out Mostert, Coetzee added: "Franco has played an enormous amount of rugby - at Super Rugby level, playing club rugby in Japan and starting all of our Test matches so far this year.

"We have to be sensible in managing the workload of certain players, such as Franco. We are fortunate to have a number of very good locks. Pieter-Steph now gets an opportunity to start again, and we know what he is capable of."

South Africa won each of their matches against Argentina, while Australia are looking to bounce back this weekend after losing twice to New Zealand.


South Africa: Andries Coetzee, Raymond Rhule, Jesse Kriel, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje; Tendai Mtawarira, Malcolm Marx, Coenie Oosthuizen, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Uzair Cassiem.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Jean-Luc du Preez, Francois Hougaard, Handre Pollard, Damian de Allende.


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