James Horwill returns from injury. Image courtesy of couriermail.com.au/Sam Ruttyn
South Africa broke its Brisbane hoodoo a few weeks back in the Rugby Championship, now Australia gets its turn at returning the favour. The Wallabies haven’t won at Newlands in Cape Town since 1992 when coach Ewen McKenzie was part of Australia’s front row. That win came by a scoreline of 26-3 , but given their recent troubles, the Wallabies would take any sort of victory on Sunday morning (AEST).
The Springboks’ streak at Newlands stretches to five matches, but they had their own winning run snapped last start when the All Blacks ended their nine-match unbeaten run with a 29-15 victory in Auckland. The ‘Boks were somewhat unlucky, given hooker Bismarck du Plessis was controversially red carded at the start of the second half. He has been replaced in this match by Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss , so the South Africans lose little in the No. 2 jersey.
McKenzie has added size and power to his backline by including Brumby Tevita Kuridrani at outside centre. The Fijian-born powerhouse and fellow ACT star Christian Leali’ifano are one of Australia’s most inexperienced centre combinations in recent times. Adam Ashley-Cooper moves to the wing while Joe Tomane comes on to the other flank. James O’Connor has been axed after numerous off-field indiscretions while Nick Cummins is injured. Skipper James Horwill returns after missing two matches with a hamstring injury.
For a period a few years ago, these countries regularly played out high-scoring games in the Rainbow Nation. In Cape Town, though, no one side has scored more than 30 points in a game. Last time they met in South Africa at sea level, Australia prevailed 11-9 in Durban in 2011.
Click here to bet on Rugby Championship matches