Mohoje, Hougaard start for Springboks

The Springboks have made three changes to their starting XV for Saturday's Test against the Wallabies at Newlands.

As expected, Oupa Mohoje will make his first Test start at openside flank, with Marcell Coetzee taking the No 6 jersey from Francois Louw, who underwent surgery earlier this week after suffering a pinched nerve in his neck.

Francois Hougaard will wear the Bok No 9 jersey for the first time since August 2012, following Ruan Pienaar's tournament-ending knee injury, with Cobus Reinach set to make his Test debut off the bench.

Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger and JP Pietersen are also among the substitutes.

'Injuries forced our hand with Francois and Ruan not available, but Hougie and Oupa have been part of the squad for the entire season and I’ve got the utmost confidence in them making the step up,' said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

'Francois brings different strengths to the team at No 9 and has an opportunity to demonstrate the contribution he can make on Saturday, while Oupa is more of a traditional blindside flanker who will get another opportunity to show what he can do in his breakthrough season. He has really come on in leaps and bounds this season and responded to the goals set for him.'

Meyer said tactical needs had led to the changes on the bench.

'We felt we needed a couple of cool and experienced heads late in our matches and that is where Bakkies, Schalk, JP, Pat [Lambie] and Bismarck [du Plessis] will play a vital role – all of them have more than 30 caps.

'I’m also very happy for Cobus, who will follow in the footsteps of his late father having never even played first team at school or any national representative rugby, which is a great compliment for the structures at the Sharks.'

In line with an agreement with the provinces, Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo and Lions No 8 Warren Whiteley have been released to play in the Currie Cup this weekend. They will re-join the Springbok squad in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen.

Meyer: Time is right for Mohoje

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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