Cape Town - Rynhardt Elstadt, who is set to make his Springbok debut against the Wallabies at Ellis Park on Saturday, believes his game has evolved since leaving the Stormers to play for Toulouse in France.
The versatile Elstadt will start at No 6 for the Boks in their Rugby Championship opener.
He left Cape Town for France in 2017 and told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday that his game has improved playing in the Top 14.
"Rugby in the northern hemisphere is very different. It's forced me to evolve and hopefully anything I've learned up there can be passed on to the players in the Bok squad. The tempo in France is slower than here in the southern hemisphere and I feel over here we work harder at our rugby than in France," he said, as quoted by Netwerk24.
"It was difficult to adjust when I got there. Learning the language was tough. However, I found that after I grasped the language a few doors opened for me."
Elstadt was known as a hot-headed player at the Stormers, but says his demeanour is different.
"I'm still the same person, but I'm calmer on the field."
The 29-year-old can also slot in at lock, but mostly wore the No 7 jersey for Toulouse - in Europe that number is reserved for openside flankers.
He often played as a blindside flanker at the Stormers but he said adapting was not hard.
"I think that a lot of people are making a fuss about nothing. I'm not what you would call a fetcher. My job is to arrive first and secure the ball at the breakdown. If I do my job, hopefully it sets the platform to attack from the next phase."
Elstadt and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) are in the two debutants in the Springbok starting XV for Saturday, while prop Lizo Gqoboka is set to earn his debut off the bench.
"We are excited for the forthcoming year and I want to congratulate Rynhardt, Herschel and Lizo on their first inclusion in a Springbok match-day squad, while the leadership role is not something new for Eben (Etzebeth, captain). The build-up has been good and there is definitely a very good vibe for the match," coach Rassie Erasmus said.
"Australia have prepared very well for this match and they have spent two weeks at altitude to acclimatise to the highveld, so we are in for a great contest."
Kick-off for Saturday clash is scheduled for 17:05 and will be broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Dillyn Leyds
15 Tom Banks , 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu
Kerevi, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7
Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Rory Arnold, 4
Izack Rodda, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Rob
Simmons, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Will Genia, 22 Matt To’omua, 23 Kurtley