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Boks make 5 changes for Wallabies test

Heyneke Meyer has recalled Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner.

Springbok Coach, Heyneke Meyer.  Picture: AFP

BRISBANE - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has recalled fullback Zane Kirchner in one of five changes to his team for Saturday's Rugby Championship match against Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Eben Etzebeth has been named to start despite being ill. Kirchner also makes his return to the starting line-up for the first time this year.

His inclusion sees Willie le Roux shift to wing - where he has played the majority of his rugby for the Cheetahs - while Bryan Habana moves to the left wing.

In the pack, Juandre Kruger drops to the bench and is replaced by Flip van der Merwe, while Bismarck Du Plessis reaplces Adriaan Strauss as both hooker and vice-captain.

"A few of these changes are purely rotational in order to give guys with fresh legs a go, while others are simply a case of horses for courses," said Meyer.

"We're fortunate to be in a position to rotate players of the calibre of Bismarck and Adriaan, while we felt this was the right opportunity to give Flip and Zane a go in the starting team."

Meyer reiterated the massive challenge of playing Australia at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday. But he added that the Springboks are looking forward to testing themselves against one of the best sides in the world.

"If we are going to progress as a team, we need to start winning away from home and Saturday's test provides this challenge," said Meyer."

The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 567 Test caps (327 in the backline and 240 in the forwards), while there are a further 122 caps worth of experience on the bench.

South Africa and Australia have played each other 76 times since 1933, with the Springboks winning 42 tests, losing 33 and one was drawn. The Springboks have scored 1435 points and 172 tries and conceded 1337 points and 138 tries for an average score of 19-18.

South Africa and Australia last met on 29 September 2012 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The Springboks won by 31-8, a game in which Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick of tries.