Australian Wallabies make four changes for Springboks clash

Perth (Australia) (AFP) –


Australia have made four changes to their starting side to face South Africa on Saturday, with Tatafu Polota-Nau returning and a season-ending injury for Dane Haylett-Petty opening the door to Reece Hodge.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika shuffled the deck after their narrow 35-29 loss to the All Blacks in Dunedin last month.

Polota-Nau will wear the number two jersey as hooker to replace veteran Stephen Moore, who is staying in Brisbane for the birth of his third child.

Sekope Kepu will start alongside him in the scrum, with Allan Alaalatoa relegated to the bench, while lock Adam Coleman returns from a shoulder injury.

Reece will play his 16th Test after Haylett-Petty's miserable week took a turn for the worse when he underwent bicep surgery Thursday, which is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.

"Best wishes to Dane Haylett-Petty who underwent bicep surgery today. Wishing you a speedy recovery mate!" his team Western Force tweeted.

Haylett-Petty was already reeling from a court decision this week that confirmed his club would be axed from Super Rugby.

The 28-year-old wing missed the opening Rugby Championship loss to the All Blacks in Sydney with the injury, before returning to play 62 minutes of the second Test.

Also in the mix is hulking rookie Jordan Uelese, who has bolted into the squad after his performances for Australia at this year's World U20 Championships in Georgia.

The 20-year-old hooker is expected to make his debut off the bench.

Saturday night's clash in Perth is vital for Cheika's side with the Wallabies currently third in the Rugby Championship table after collecting just one bonus point from the opening two rounds.

South Africa currently top the standings following two convincing wins against Argentina, although history is in Australia's favour with the Wallabies winning their last three at home against the Springboks.

Australia (15-1) - Israel Folau, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge; Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Sean McMahon, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold; Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio

Replacements: Jordan Uelese, Tom Robertson, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Jack Dempsey, Nick Phipps, Samu Kerevi, Curtis Rona