Wallabies make three changes to starting side

The Wallabies will play against the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Wallabies will play against the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.

JOHANNESBURG

  • Australia have made three changes to their starting line-up for

Saturday's Rugby Championship and Mandela Plate clash against the

Sprinboks at Newlands in Cape Town.

The

changes to the starting line-up see Queensland Reds hooker Saia

Fainga'a and ACT Brumbies winger Joe Tomane get their first

opportunities to don the green and gold jersey in 2014, with the

returning vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper who has been out on injury.

Fainga'a

was set to return to the Qantas Wallabies matchday squad a two weeks

ago in the Wallaby's clash with the Springboks in Perth, but had to

withdraw on gameday to fly home to Brisbane for the birth of his first

child.

Joe

Tomane previously missed selection in 2014 because of a broken

cheekbone during the June Test series against France, while a hamstring

injury ruled the 24-year-old out of the opening four games of the Rugby

Championship.

In a further change, NSW Waratahs prop Benn Robinson has also earned his first Test opportunity for 2014.

Coach

Ewen McKenzie said the inclusion of Fainga'a to the starting side and

Robinson on the bench reflected the importance set-piece would play in

the match.

"The

set-piece is always an important area of focus for us, even more so

when you play South Africa, and we know the outcome of the scrum and

line-out will be crucial to the final result," McKenzie said.

"We

recognise that, and are confident the inclusion of Saia and Benn will

offer us the best outcome in this area across the entire 80 minutes.

They're both experienced campaigners who have delivered at a high level

before, and we expect the same on Saturday night."

"For

Saia, we've been really impressed with the effort he has put in off the

field recently, and he'll be determined to make the most of this

opportunity."

"Benn

is someone who we have always said wasn't out of the selection picture,

and we've been pleased with the improvements he has made to his game

throughout the year. We liked what we saw from him at training during

the lead-up to the Gold Coast Test and he now gets his chance."

McKenzie also welcomed Ashley-Cooper and Tomane back into the squad.

"It's

great to add Adam's experience to the squad and we expect him to be

refreshed and ready to go after missing our most recent Test against

Argentina," he said.

"We've

been impressed by how Rob Horne has performed on the wing, but we feel

Joe deserves an opportunity to also show us what he has got. You can

never have enough big backs in your side, and the physicality he brings

to the game should serve us well against an abrasive Springboks

line-up."

There are a number of important milestones at stake for Australia on Saturday night.

Victory

would see them win back possession of the Mandela Plate, which was won

by South Africa in 2013. Australia drew first blood in reclaiming the

silverware by beating the Springboks 24-23.

A win would also see Australia move into second place on the IRB World Rankings, a position currently held by the South Africa.

A

third milestone up for grabs would be the chance to break South

Africa's long-running win streak in Cape Town, with no Australian side

winning at Newlands Stadium since 1992.

Squad

  1. James Slipper

  1. Saia Fainga'a

  1. Sekope Kepu

  1. Sam Carter

  1. Rob Simmons

  1. Scott Fardy

  1. Michael Hooper

  1. Ben McCalman

  1. Nick Phipps

  1. Bernard Foley

  1. Joe Tomane

  1. Matt Toomua

  1. Tevita Kuridrani

  1. Adam Ashley-Cooper

  1. Israel Folau

Reserves

  1. James Hanson

  1. Benn Robinson

  1. Ben Alexander

  1. James Horwill

  1. Scott Higginbotham

  1. Nic White

  1. Kurtley Beale

  1. Rob Horne