Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has explained his decision to include Francois Hougaard at wing for their Rugby Championship clash against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.
Hougaard comes into the side as replacement for Ruan Combrinck, who suffered a fractured leg against Argentina in Salta two weeks ago.
Hougaard will play on the left wing, meaning the experienced Bryan Habana moves over to the right.
“Francois Hougaard is a versatile player. He covers two positions for us and therefore we could go with a six/two (forwards/backs) split on the bench,” Coetzee told SuperSport Blitz in Brisbane on Thursday.
“I’m happy, he has recovered completely and fully. He’s a guy that has performed really well at 11. He’s a competitive player as we all know, his defensive work is really solid. And that is one of his strengths that I would like to see come through this weekend. The Australians are renowned for their phase play and holding on to the ball for long periods of time.”
Hougaard is not shy of making tackles - something the Boks would need to do well on Saturday.
“Whether we like it or not we will have to make tackles, more than 120 tackles if you want to get away with this game,” said Coetzee.
“So Hougie fits in very well, he is also one of the backs that contests and competes on the ground. He’s also an exceptional finisher and showed great pace during the week at training... he’s been out of the mix, playing his rugby at Worcester in England and it’s a second opportunity for him.”
Overall, Coetzee made four changes to the team that went down 26-24 to Argentina in Salta.
Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel replace De Allende and Mapoe in midfield, while in the only change amongst the forwards, tighthead prop Lourens Adriaanse will earn his first start for the Springboks in place of Vincent Koch.
Saturday’s Test at Suncorp Stadium is scheduled for 12:05 (SA time).
15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Bernard Foley, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio
Substitutes (from): 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Sean McMahon, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Tevita Kuridrani, 24 Drew Mitchell
15 Johan Goosen, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Lionel Mapoe