Springboks recall de Klerk, give Gelant start on wing
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk returned for the Springboks and Warrick Gelant was given a start on the wing in two team changes Monday for the first of two Rugby Championship tests in Australia.
De Klerk is available again after missing the second test against New Zealand in South Africa with a concussion and is in for Jaden Hendrikse, who dropped to the bench. Gelant replaced Jesse Kriel, who left early in that second game against the All Blacks with a head injury.
South Africa made two other changes on the bench, with veteran utility back Frans Steyn back from injury and flyhalf Elton Jantjies earning a recall.
The Springboks also abandoned the 6-2 split for the bench, preferring a more traditional 5-3 mix of forwards and backs after Kriel’s early injury caused complications in the backline in the 35-23 loss to New Zealand on Aug. 13.
Coach Jacques Nienaber kept faith with prop Ox Nche, hooker Joseph Dweba and No. 8 Duane Vermeulen to start against the Wallabies after they were all replaced early in that loss to New Zealand.
South Africa will play back-to-back tests against Australia in Adelaide on Saturday and Sydney the following weekend.
Argentina is the surprise leader of the Rugby Championship standings after two rounds and is ahead of Australia on points difference. All four teams have won once and lost once but Argentina and Australia have taken a bonus point from their first two games.
South Africa: Damian Willemse, Warrick Gelant, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Joseph Dweba, Ox Nche. Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Jaden Hendrikse, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn.
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