World champions South Africa will be without star wing Cheslin Kolbe for the Rugby Championship clash with Australia in Gold Coast on Sunday.
But the Boks have been boosted by the return of the experienced number eight Duane Vermeulen.
Kolbe’s participation in the match had been in doubt after he injured his leg in training on Friday.
South Africa will miss his attacking threat, but they have an equally potent Sbu Nkosi as his replacement on the wing.
“Unfortunately, we lost Cheslin to injury, but we are fortunate to have Sbu who steps in. He’s been working hard at training and he is eager to get back on the field,” Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber said during Wednesday’s matchday squad announcement.
While Kolbe misses out, Vermeulen, who has not featured for the Springboks this season due to an ankle injury, is in line to make his first appearance.
Vermeulen gave a man-of-the-match performance when he last played for the Springboks in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final victory over England.
Vermeulen’s return will boost their forward pack, while he is also a dangerous runner with ball in hand.
“Duane has played an active role off the field in our team meetings and with the analysis of the opposition, and he has also provided guidance at training,” Nienaber added.
“He returned to full training when we arrived in Australia, so he has been in the thick of things for a while now.”
Scrumhalves Faf de Klerk and Herschel Jantjies have also returned to the match-day squad after recovering from injury, along with flanker Marco van Staden.
Lock Eben Etzebeth is back in the starting line-up after being rested.
“Duane, Faf and Herschel are Rugby World Cup winners, and so is Eben, who is back after we rotated him to manage his workload, while Marco has made a strong impact on the field this season as well,” Nienaber said.
The Boks won back-to-back matches against Argentina at the start of the Rugby Championship, but they face a tougher challenge with their next two games against Australia and then two more versus New Zealand.
South Africa’s starting lineup:
Willie le Roux, S’bu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Damian Willemse.