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Cheika keeps faith in Beale as Hooper returns to face 'Boks

Rassie Erasmus has also tweaked his team after beating New Zealand last time out.

Image: AAP/PA Images

SKIPPER MICHAEL HOOPER returns as struggling Australia made four changes for Saturday’s Rugby Championship fifth-round clash with South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

The flanker was a late injury-related withdrawal from the Wallabies side beaten 23-19 at home by Argentina two weeks ago — their third loss in four Championship Tests this season.

Hooper takes over the captaincy and loose forward roles of David Pocock, who switches to number eight in place of injured Pete Samu.

In another back-row change, Ned Hanigan comes in on the other flank for Lukhan Tui, who did not travel after an ugly spat with a supporter after the Gold Coast beating by the Pumas.

Tui requested a break from international rugby following the recent death of his stepfather and the altercation with a spectator, who pushed a sister of the Wallaby after the Test.

Lock Adam Coleman replaces Rory Arnold and tighthead prop Taniela Tupou will make his run-on debut with Allan Alaalatoa dropping to the bench. 

Scott Sio is set to win his 50th cap on the opposite side of the front row for the Test at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the coastal city.

Coach Michael Cheika kept faith with fly-half Kurtley Beale and scrum-half Will Genia amid media calls for playmaker Bernard Foley to start instead of being on the bench.

Australia beat South Africa 23-18 in Brisbane this month, but lie bottom of the Championship standings with only five points from a possible 20.

South Africa have 10 points to their name, and coach Rassie Erasmus has also made four changes for this Test, with debuts in store for Cheslin Kolbe and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

Winger Kolbe, number eight Notshe, centre Andre Esterhuizen and prop Tendai Mtawarira come into the side following the stunning win away to New Zealand this month.

Injuries ruled out centres Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende and number eight Warren Whiteley while prop Steven Kitshoff drops to the bench.

There is also one positional change to the side that defeated the All Blacks 36-34 in a Wellington thriller two weeks ago with Jesse Kriel switching from wing to outside centre.

New Zealand South Africa Rugby Source: John Cowpland

“Cheslin has been very impressive since he joined the squad a few weeks ago and gets a deserved opportunity to start in a big Test,” said Erasmus.

“The same applies for Notshe, who did very well as an impact player during the England series. He has kept working hard and he deserves his opportunity in the starting team.”

Kolbe plays for French Top 14 outfit Toulouse and, like Munster’s CJ Stander, previous Springbok coaches considered him “too small” for Test rugby.

He was called up for the Australasia tour this month, debuted in Brisbane and scored one of the five South African tries against the All Blacks.

On the day the Springboks stunned the All Blacks, the Wallabies lost at home to Argentina for the first time in 35 years, leaving them bottom of the ladder.

South Africa

15. Willie le Roux
14. Cheslin Kolbe
13. Jesse Kriel
12. Andre Esterhuizen
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi
10. Handre Pollard
9. Faf de Klerk

1. Tendai Mtawarira
2. Malcolm Marx
3. Frans Malherbe
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Franco Mostert
6. Siya Kolisi (capt)
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit
8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Replacements:

16. Bongi Mbonambi
17. Steven Kitshoff
18. Wilco Louw
19. RG Snyman
20. Marco van Staden
21. Embrose Papier
22. Elton Jantjies
23. Damian Willemse

Australia

15. Dane Haylett-Petty
14. Israel Folau
13. Reece Hodge
12. Matt Toomua
11. Marika Koroibete
10. Kurtley Beale
9. Will Genia

1. Scott Sio
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau
3. Taniela Tupou
4. Adam Coleman
5. Izack Rodda
6. Ned Hanigan
7. Michael Hooper (capt)
8. David Pocock

Replacements:

16. Folau Faingaa
17. Sekope Kepu
18. Allan Alaalatoa
19. Rory Arnold
20. Rob Simmons
21. Nick Phipps
22. Bernard Foley
23. Jack Maddocks

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AFP

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