Wallabies facing ultimate challenge in Pretoria

Wallabies facing ultimate challenge in Pretoria

After three matches on the road, South Africa return home for their penultimate 2016 Rugby Championship clash against Australia.

Allister Coetzee hopes a partisan crowd in Pretoria will help his South Africa side claim just a second victory of this year's Rugby Championship.

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The Springboks face Australia - to whom they lost 23-17 in the third round of fixtures - with their sights set on a win that could see them leapfrog their opponents into second.

WIth all-conquering New Zealand already assured of lifting the trophy after their 41-13 thrashing of South Africa last time out, these two sides and Argentina are left with little more than pride to play for.

Coetzee has made three changes to his XV from that loss in Christchurch, handing a first start to scrum-half Rudy Paige, who will partner the recalled Morne Steyn in the half-backs, with Pat Lambie returning at full-back following a concussion suffered against Ireland in June.

Since their opening win over Argentina, South Africa have been on the road and Coetzee hopes a return to home soil will give his squad the boost they need.

"We had a very good training week so far and there is definitely excitement amongst the players to play in front of our South African supporters again as we continue to build continuity," Coetzee said.

"Pat has shown great confidence all week long and we are very pleased to have him back. The selection of Pat at full-back fits into the way we want to play this weekend, together with his experience, calmness and leadership, which will be invaluable this weekend.

"We have our own goals to achieve within the two remaining matches, starting on Saturday when we play the Wallabies in front of a good crowd at Loftus."

Coetzee's opposite number Michael Cheika has made just one alteration from the 36-20 defeat of the Pumas, with Sean McMahon replacing David Pocock at number eight, while Sefanaia Naivalu - playing state rugby just two years ago - is in line to become the 900th Wallaby if he appears off the bench.

"Playing for Australia was part of my dream," Naivalu said. "If I get that opportunity, I'll take it. I won't hesitate or question it or regret anything."

"We want to go to Pretoria and play a real Australian style of game and we'll see where it lands us. We've started to show some signs of that over the last couple of weeks," Cheika said in a news conference.

"Maybe we think too much about what's going to happen at altitude or what's going to be the kicking game from them, instead of just saying, 'let's play our game, go here and play to the best of our ability and see what happens'.

"We don't think we've fulfilled that as much as we wanted to this season."

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