Australia v South Africa, Rugby Championship
Meyer hands Vermeulen debut
ESPN Staff
September 5, 2012
Bryan Habana and Duane Vermeulen celebrate the Stormers' win, Lions v Stormers, Super Rugby, Coca Cola Park, Johannesburg, South Africa, March 24, 2012
Duane Vermeulen will line up alongside Stormers team-mate Bryan Habana on Saturday © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Heyneke Meyer | Duane Vermeulen
Tournaments/Tours: Rugby Championship

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has handed a debut to Duane Vermeulen ahead of their clash with Australia on Saturday.

Vermeulen's inclusion is one of five positional changes from the team that started against Argentina nearly a fortnight ago. The Boks came in for criticism after their 16-16 draw and Meyer has responded by switching Francois Hougaard to the wing and Willem Alberts to flanker. Vermeulen comes in at No.8 with Ruan Pienaar starting at scrum-half. Hougaard replaces Lwazi Mvovo on the flank while Jacques Potgieter and Andries Bekker drop out of the match day 22. Juandre Kruger comes in for Bekker.

Cheetahs fly-half Johan Goosen may get his first Test cap for the Boks if he is brought on from the bench while Francois Louw also gets a recall to the matchday squad. Commenting on the changes, Meyer said: "We've decided to put Duane straight into the starting team because he is a classic No 8, a position we've lacked in since Pierre Spies got injured and Ryan Kankowski moved to Japan.

"I've always admired the way Duane plays rugby and he's fitted in very well the past week. He would've been a Springbok years ago if it had not been for injuries and it's great to finally see him selected.

"The same goes for Johan, who in my mind can become one of the great fly-halves in world rugby. I've been very impressed with his work ethic and attitude since he joined the squad on Thursday in Johannesburg and we will keep on managing him carefully over the next few weeks."

"Ruan brings a more tactical approach to scrum-half, while I've always been impressed with Francois at wing. At lock we've decided to go for Juandré as he plays more to the ball. Juandré and Eben played well as a combination in the June Tests against England. And by including Francois on the bench, we have a specialist opensider, but also a versatile loose forward that brings a bit more balance to our back row mix."

South Africa team:
Zane Kirchner, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (c), Frans Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Morné Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Juandre Kruger, Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Duane Vermeulen

Replacements: Tiaan Liebenberg, Pat Cilliers, Flip van der Merwe, Francois Louw, Johan Goosen, Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo

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