Quade Cooper is back in Australia's starting line-up. Image courtesy of news.com.au
It has been a long time between drinks for South Africa rugby teams in Brisbane – eight matches and 42 years, to be precise – but the Springboks have a big chance to end one of the Wallabies’ last remaining strangleholds at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Australia is still in transition with new coach Ewen McKenzie just two games in to his role. There have been plenty of changes in key positions after back-to-back losses to the all-conquering All Blacks, as well. The biggest sees Quade Cooper come in to start at fly half on his home ground in place of Brumby Matt Toomua. Israel Folau’s rugby apprenticeship takes another step forward as he steps out in the No. 15 jersey for the first time at international level at the expense of Jesse Mogg. He’ll no doubt receive a working out from Springbok halves Morne Steyn and Ruan Pienaar .
There was one forced change with skipper James Horwill out with a hamstring injury, and his abrasiveness will be missed against the monster ‘Boks pack. Kane Douglas has earned a promotion to start in his place in the second row.
South Africa coach Herneke Meyer has kept plenty of his players fresh for this trip and it was no surprise to see his side struggle to overcome a gallant Argentina 22-17 last weekend. It was in stark contrast to the 73-13 pummeling of the Pumas the week before. The ‘Boks have really struggled on their travels to Australia of late, with the Wallabies winning the last four at home, as well as the Rugby World Cup semi-final in Wellington in 2011.
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