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Boks' unbeaten PE record under threat against wounded Wallabies

The Springboks face a wounded Wallabies side in the penultimate round of the Rugby Championship at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, a venue they are yet to taste defeat at.

The Springboks get the ball wide during the Rugby Championship match against the Wallabies. Picture: @Springboks/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Springboks face a wounded Wallabies side in the penultimate round of the Rugby Championship at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, a venue they are yet to taste defeat at.

The Boks boast a perfect record in the Windy City, winning four of their five Test matches at the 46,000-seater venue, with only one draw (14-14 against England in 2012). That record, though, will come under fire against a Wallabies side that has been under pressure both on and off the field.

Though Michael Chieka’s side have beaten the Boks in the competition already with a hard-fought 23-18 victory at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane just under a month ago, Rassie Erasmus’ men will be buoyed by their unexpected victory over the All Blacks in Wellington.

The Wallabies are coming off a disappointing loss to Argentina’s Pumas for the first time since 1983, but a clash between players and fans after that match has put enormous pressure on both the players and Chieka alike.

South Africa has an overwhelming record against Australia in South Africa. They have played each other 45 times in the Republic, with the Australians victorious in only 10 occasions, while the Boks have beaten them 34 times with a solitary draw since 1933.

Chieka and his squad are eager to put the criticism aside and earn a morale-boosting win over the Boks in South Africa since 2011 in Durban. Chieka is likely to rejig his team for Saturday’s clash, with Bernard Foley tipped to return to the flyhalf position in place of Kurtley Beale, with the latter also likely to shift back to the number 12 jersey in place of Matt Toomua.

The match will be Siya Kolisi’s first as captain in front of his home crowd of Port Elizabeth, but the Boks have been hit with injury concerns, with centre Lukhanyo Am and winger Makazole Mapimpi ruled out with various injuries and Francois Louw returning to his club side Bath.

Damien de Allende, who was initially ruled out of the last two Test matches, did train with the squad at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday and Willie le Roux, who was also set to return to England to resume club commitments with Wasps, will rejoin the Boks on Tuesday ahead of the Test match on Saturday.

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