Vermeulen to start against Australia

PA Sport
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has announced five changes to his starting XV
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South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has announced five changes to his starting XV

South Africa will give Duane Vermeulen his Test debut against Australia in Perth on Saturday.

The number eight is one of five changes made for the Rugby Championship clash on the west coast, with coach Heyneke Meyer reacting to the 16-all draw with Argentina last time out.

Adriaan Strauss has been named at hooker but has until Friday to prove he has recovered from a knee problem, while two of the changes are positional.

Francois Hougaard has moved from the number nine position to the wing, while Willem Alberts will start at flanker to make way for Vermeulen.

Ruan Pienaar gets his first starting spot of the year, whole Juandre Kruger comes in at lock. Francois Louw is included in the 22 for the first time this year and Lwazi Mvovo is on the bench.

Cheetahs fly-half Johan Goosen has also been named amongst the replacements and if he makes an appearance, it will be his first for the Springboks.

The team has a combined total of 451 Test caps.

South Africa team to face Australia in Perth: 15. Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morné Steyn, 9, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.

Bench: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Johan Goosen, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.

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