Lambie headlines Bok bolters

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:50
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Patrick Lambie at fullback is one of several bolters by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

Lambie will wear the No.15 jersey for South Africa against Australia in a Rugby Championship Round Five encounter in Pretoria on Saturday.

The other big surprises are Rudy Paige at scrumhalf and Morné Steyn at flyhalf - with Elton Jantjies and Francois de Klerk dropping out of the matchday 23 altogether.

Lambie returns to the Bok starting XV for the first time since June 11 - when he suffered a massive concussion in a brutal collision with Ireland's South African-born flank Christiaan Stander.

Lambie struggled for months with concussion symptoms before being cleared earlier this month.

He has since played 30-odd minutes - coming on as a second-half replacement for the Sharks against the Eastern Province Kings in a Currie Cup match.

Lambie will play fullback, where he is preferred over Johan Goosen - who has also been axed from the matchday 23.

The Sharks player, who will earn his 52nd Springbok cap, has already scored 137 Test points in the Green and Gold jersey.

However, the biggest surprise is the decision to bring in an entire new halfback combination.

Paige will make his starting debut for the Springboks.

Paige, who has made four Test appearances from the Bok bench, will partner the experienced Steyn at halfback.

They take over from De Klerk and Jantjies respectively, both of whom started in the last six Tests of the year.

The Springbok forward pack that played against the All Blacks in Christchurch a fortnight ago was kept unchanged, with hooker Adriaan Strauss again leading out the team after he suffered a knock to the lower back in New Zealand.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has reshuffled his bench, which shows five changes from the previous match-23.

Bongi Mbonambi, Julian Redelinghuys, Lodewyk de Jager, Lionel Mapoe and Willie le Roux are all included amongst the replacement.

Coetzee said the team is looking forward to the Test at Loftus Versfeld, where the Springboks are unbeaten in five previous Rugby Championship Tests against the Wallabies.

"We had a very good training week so far," Coetzee said.

"There is definitely excitement amongst the players to play in front of our South African supporters again, as we continue to build continuity with just the three changes to the starting team and an unchanged pack of forwards."

The coach said Lambie has shown "great confidence" in the build-up this week.

"We are very pleased to have him back, as well as Lood and Julian, both of who have also shrugged off injuries.

"Willie will add a lot of experience on the bench.

"The selection of Pat at fullback fits into the way we want to play this weekend, together with his experience, calmness and leadership, which will be invaluable this weekend.

"Elton [Jantjies] and Francois [De Klerk] remain an integral part of the squad and both are part of our future plans, but Rudy and Morné deserve an opportunity to start.

"Australia will be determined to build on their previous two wins and they will pose difficult questions to us with their tactical and technical approach.

"We have our own goals to achieve within the two remaining matches, starting on Saturday when we play the Wallabies in front of a good crowd at Loftus."

South Africa: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Willie le Roux.

Date: Saturday, October 1
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17.05 (15.05 GMT; 01.05, Sunday, October 2 AEST)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Johnny Lacey (Ireland), George Clancy (Ireland)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

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