Australia v South Africa, Rugby Championship
Ewen McKenzie suggests Wallabies changes
September 2, 2013
Matt Toomua is considered to be under pressure for the No.10 jumper © Getty Images
Ewen McKenzie is keeping his selection cards close to his chest, but he has suggested he will make changes to his starting side in order to run South Africa into the ground in the first Nelson Mandela Plate Test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday night.
Brumbies backs Jessie Mogg and Matt Toomua are under most pressure, and McKenzie is considering personnel and tactical changes against the highly physical Springboks as the Wallabies coach seeks his first Test win after starting his tenure with back-to-back losses against the All Blacks in The Rugby Championship.
"There's always the potential for change," McKenzie said. "We're playing a different team in a different context so different things will come into play so we're definitely looking at that."
Quade Cooper looms as a likely replacement for Toomua at No.10, but his former Queensland Reds coach continued to bat away queries about the fly-half's selection hopes.
"It's about how we want to play the game tactically, then we'll have a look at the best guys to do that," McKenzie said. "We've got three playmakers [Toomua, Cooper and Bernard Foley] in the group and I'm happy with all of them."
Cooper has a fine record against South African teams, with both Australia and Queensland, while the Wallabies have won all seven of their Brisbane Tests against the Springboks - traditionally running them ragged.
South Africa started the tournament with 73-13 and 22-17 home and away wins over Argentina, playing to their strengths with attacking mauls, set-piece play and territorial pressure.
"Their formula works for them," McKenzie said. "That's how they do it - that's the Springbok way. We're in the process of how we want to do it - the Australian way - and it's a bit different. There's a clash of rugby approaches. They love having set-pieces and they structure most of their game from that. That's what they want. The question is whether you give it to them."