South Africa and Australia playing for second place

All Blacks likely to claim Rugby Championship with away win over Argentina

Eben Etzebeth  and Bryan Habana tackle Israel Folau when the sides met in  Perth earlier this month. Photograph: Reuters

Eben Etzebeth and Bryan Habana tackle Israel Folau when the sides met in Perth earlier this month. Photograph: Reuters

 

South Africa v Australia (Saturday, 4.05pm): South Africa and Australia will both aim to keep alive slim hopes of landing this season’s Rugby Championship title when they clash in Cape Town on Saturday.

Whatever happens at Newlands, though, it will be all over if unbeaten Championship leaders New Zealand claim an away victory over Argentina a few hours later (kick-off 11.10pm Irish time).

So runners-up position is the realistic target for the Springboks and Wallabies as they once again find themselves playing catch-up behind a dominant All Blacks outfit.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer hands starts to scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and flanker Teboho Mohoje as his team look to bounce back from a narrow defeat against New Zealand last time out.

“It will be a very tough outing, and we will have to fire on all cylinders for the full 80 minutes,” Meyer told www.sarugby.net.

“It’s great to be back in South Africa after three tough matches on the road, and we are really looking forward to playing in front of our own supporters again.

“We’ve had a couple of great training sessions and have been working hard on all aspects of our game this week. There is a definite resolve to improve the quality of our performance on Saturday.”

Australia show three changes, with wing Joe Tomane and hooker Saia Fainga’a both starting, while Adam Ashley-Cooper returns to the back division after recovering from injury.

“The set-piece is always an important area of focus for us, even more so when you play South Africa, and we know the outcome of the scrum and lineout will be crucial to the final result,” Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie told www.rugby.com.au.

“For Saia, we’ve been really impressed with the effort he has put in off the field recently, and he will be determined to make the most of this opportunity.”

South Africa have won three of their last four Tests against Australia, while the Wallabies last triumphed on Springboks soil three years ago when they claimed a 14-9 victory in Durban.

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