Qantas Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans was coaching co-ordinator for the 2003 All Blacks who, in beating South Africa 52-16 at Loftus, inflicted the heaviest ever home defeat on the Springboks.

This is a great press release and read

I have a feeling Australia will win

The return of Quade Cooper to the flyhalf position represents the only change to the Qantas Wallabies starting XV for Saturday night’s Bundaberg Red Tri Nations Series match against South Africa in Pretoria, from that which appeared against New Zealand earlier in the month.

Cooper, who has missed the last two Test matches due to suspension, replaces his Queensland Reds team-mate Anthony Faingaa in the run on combination, with Matt Giteau moving out one position in the backline to inside centre.

Faingaa has been included among the run on reserves.

The 22-year-old Cooper’s most recent Test appearance came during last month’s 30-13 win over South Africa at Brisbane which opened the three-game Mandela Trophy series.

Australia’s starting XV for this weekend features just one change from the formation which ran on that night, with Adam Ashley-Cooper now occupying the centre position in place of the injured Rob Horne, while Kurtley Beale has come into the team at fullback.

The bench for this weekend’s Test match is notable for the inclusion of both the uncapped Queensland Reds loose forward Scott Higginbotham and the lightly tried Western Force utility forward Ben McCalman.

Higginbotham, who will become the 847th player to represent Australia in Test matches should he be required to take the field, takes the place of the injured Matt Hodgson.

He would become the 27th player to have been introduced to Test ranks since Robbie Deans took over as Qantas Wallabies coach in 2008.

The versatile McCalman, who made his sole Test appearance to date off the bench during the earlier win over South Africa, takes over from the Queensland Reds second rower Rob Simmons.

A win on Saturday would reclaim for the Wallabies the Mandela Trophy after Australia won the opening Tri Nations international between the two teams.

Australia last held the trophy in 2008, the year it last won a Test in South Africa.

Skipper Rocky Elsom, prop Benn Robinson, Giteau and winger Drew Mitchell are the sole starting line-up survivors from the 27-15 win in Durban two years ago, although both Giteau and Mitchell will on the weekend appear in different positions.

The Qantas Wallabies team to play South Africa in the Bundaberg Red Tri Nations Series and Mandela Trophy Test at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria on Saturday 28 August at 5pm (1am, Sun 29 August, AEST) is:

15. Kurtley Beale (NSW Waratahs)

14. James O’Connor (Western Force)

13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Brumbies)

12. Matt Giteau (Brumbies)

11. Drew Mitchell (NSW Waratahs)

10. Quade Cooper (Queensland Reds)

9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds)

8. Richard Brown (Western Force)

7. David Pocock (Western Force)

6. Rocky Elsom (Brumbies, captain)

5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force)

4. Dean Mumm (NSW Waratahs)

3. Salesi Ma’afu (Brumbies)

2. Saia Faingaa (Queensland Reds)

1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)

Run on reserves:

16. Stephen Moore (Brumbies)

17. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)

18. Ben McCalman (Western Force)

19. Scott Higginbotham (Queensland Reds)

20. Luke Burgess (NSW Waratahs)

21. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs)

22. Anthony Faingaa (Queensland Reds)

Australia v South Africa in South Africa – Historical Notes

  • This will be the 73rd meeting between Australia and South Africa at all venues. Australia has won 28, including the two most recent meetings, and South Africa 43, while one match has been drawn.
  • Just eight of Australia’s previous wins have been attained on South African soil, with the Springboks taking the other 29 matches that have been played.
  • Australia has won just twice previously at high veldt venues – in 1933 at Bloemfontein and 1963 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. The Wallabies have been beaten on all four previous visits to Loftus Versfeld in 1963, 1997, 2001 and 2005.
  • Australia’s most recent win on South African soil was a 27-15 win at Durban in 2008 which secured the Mandela Trophy. That success was the first achieved by the Wallabies in the Republic for eight years.
  • Prior to South Africa’s readmission to international sport in 1992, Australia had won just seven of the 31 matches played.
  • The scoreboard stands at 21 wins to Australia and 19 to South Africa, with one drawn, for the period since then.
  • Loftus Versfeld, which is home to the Super 14 champion Bulls, has hosted 29 previous Tests featuring the Springboks, from which the home side has won 21 and lost eight.
  • The ground, which houses 50,000 seats, hosted the 2009 Super 14 final where the Bulls beat the Chiefs.
  • It was also used for six matches in the recent 2010 FIFA football World Cup which was held in South Africa.
  • The ground was zoned for sport in 1914, with the first grandstand accommodating 2000 people built in 1923, and changing rooms and toilet facilities added in 1928, largely paid for out of the profits of that year’s All Black tour of South Africa.
  • Known as the Eastern sports grounds until 1932, the grounds were re-named Loftus Versfeld to honour the memory of the founder of organised sport in Pretoria, who died that year.
  • The Northern Transvaal Rugby Football Union (now Blue Bulls RFU) was established in 1938 after breaking away from the Johannesburg-based Transvaal RFU.
  • Northern Transvaal won its first Currie Cup in 1946. That team included the immortal Springbok, (Dr) Danie Craven. Last year, when the team beat the Cheetahs in the final, the Blue Bulls clinched South African domestic supremacy for the 20th time.
  • The 1997 Tri Nations Test at the ground saw Australia concede its highest ever score against South Africa.
  • South Africa has lost just two of its last 10 Tests at the ground since 2000, with both of those being won by the All Blacks, in 2003 and 2006. Qantas Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans was coaching co-ordinator for the 2003 All Blacks who, in beating South Africa 52-16 at Loftus, inflicted the heaviest ever home defeat on the Springboks.

Matt McILraith

Qantas Wallabies Media Manager

About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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