Rugby Schalk Burger to start, Jesse Kriel set for Springboks debut

Schalk Burger returns to South Africa's starting line-up for their Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

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Schalk Burger returns to South Africa's starting line-up for their Rugby Championship opener against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.

Burger's inclusion at number eight is one of five changes to the 23, with the other four all on the bench.

Props Heinke van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe, lock Lood de Jager and wing Lwazi Mvovo have been included, while Jesse Kriel is set to make his international debut.

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said he planned to rotate his squad ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

"We"re expecting a massive contest for the ball on the ground on Saturday and with Schalk there next to Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, as well as Bismarck du Plessis, we"ve got a lot of players who are very good at the breakdowns," Meyer said.

"Warren Whiteley played very well last weekend, but he knows exactly where he stands and will play again for the Boks this season. For this match though, we decided to go with this specific loose trio.

"I"ve said last week that we will make changes, but it"s also important to keep some form of momentum. Saturday"s match is going to be massive in the context of our season and we have to ensure we tick the right boxes."

Meyer said his team would have to be at their best at Suncorp Stadium, having only beaten the Wallabies once at the venue.

But he is confident after watching the Springboks beat a World XV 46-10 last time out.

"If we're not at our best, it will be a long day at the office," Meyer said.

"But we played some brilliant rugby last weekend against the World XV in Cape Town and the challenge this weekend is to build on that and improve in the areas we lacked.

"Our basics have to be spot on and it will also be a great test for our defensive systems against a Wallaby side that can rip any team to shreds with the ball in hand."

Springboks: Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Handre Pollard, Ruan Pienaar, Schalk Burger, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Heinke van der Merwe, Frans Malherbe, Lood de Jager, Oupa Mohoje, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo.

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