Ralepelle returns after recovering from a back injury which kept him out of the recent victories over Argentina, he boosts depth at the hooker position as he joins incumbent Adriaan Straus and veteran Bismark du Plessis.
Kirchner is brought in as another option at full back after a pretty woeful performance by Willie le Roux in Mendoza last weekend. There are worries about Le Roux’s competence under the high ball and a call for him to shift over to the wing where he has played nearly all season for the Cheetahs. Kirchner may have his detractors all over the country, but he played some good rugby in the second half of the Super Rugby season and is solid under the highball – a tactic used extensively by the Wallabies and more and more by the All Blacks.
The Boks fly out to Brisbane this weekend ahead of their match next weekend and then move over to Auckland to face the All Blacks on the 14th of September.
“This will be two tough weeks on the road against two of the best sides in the world and as we saw last weekend against Argentina, we still have a lot of hard work to do, The Springboks have never beaten Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane and our last victory at Eden Park was in 1937.” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“Australia may have lost their first two matches, but they showed a marked improvement last weekend in Wellington. They are always a tough opponent at home – the Springboks’ last victory over there was in 2009 and we’ve only won three out of 18 matches in this competition in Australia. We get together on Thursday and will have to put in a lot of hard work in the next 10 days. We let ourselves down in certain areas of the game in Mendoza and will have to fix those if we are going to be competitive against Australia,” Meyer added.
Springbok squad: Lourens Adriaanse, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Juandré Kruger, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen, Bjorn Basson, Jean de Villiers (captain), JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Ruan Pienaar, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn, Piet van Zyl, Jano Vermaak.