Strauss to start against Wallabies

Adriaan Strauss is expected to replace Bismarck du Plessis at hooker when the Springboks tackle the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday.

Du Plessis has played a lot of rugby this season, starting in the majority of the Sharks' Super Rugby matches and in all five Tests for the Boks. His performance has started to suffer as a result, as was evident in the most recent clash against Argentina in Salta.

Heyneke Meyer has often spoken about the need to rotate, given the demands of the modern rugby season and the challenges of the Boks' Rugby Championship schedule. Strauss should start for the Boks at hooker this Saturday, with Du Plessis playing a smaller role from the bench.

Victor Matfield missed the two matches against Argentina due to a knee injury, but has been given the all clear and should start at No 5 against Australia. This could see Lood de Jager dropping out of the match-day squad.

Another rookie in Handré Pollard will make way this week, as Meyer looks to his veterans to give the team an edge at a key stage of the Rugby Champiionship. Morné Steyn will be named at flyhalf, and should provide the Boks with more stability as far as tactical and goal-kicking is concerned.

A further change will be made to the pack, with Marcell Coetzee starting at blindside flank. Coetzee started at No 7 in Pretoria, and replaced Juan Smith in the second half of the game in Salta.

While he is a specialist openside, the Bok coaches are confident that Coetzee has what it takes to do the job at blindside. Willem Alberts isn't available because of injury, while Smith has requested more time to work on his match fitness.

The Springbok side to play Australia will be announced on Wednesday.

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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