Springbok coach Allister Coetzee could opt to include six forwards on the bench for Saturday’s Test against Australia if Francois Hougaard replaces the injured Ruan Combrinck.
Netwerk24 reports from Down Under suggest Hougaard looks set to play at right wing in place of Combrinck, which means he would also be able to provide cover for Faf de Klerk should he get injured.
That will allow Coetzee to split the bench between six forwards and just two backs, with Rudy Paige falling out of the match 23. Hougaard ran at wing during an open practice session in Brisbane on Monday which is being viewed as an indicator that he will be picked ahead of Lwazi Mvovo for the number 14 jersey.
Having six forwars on the bench means Coetzee would be able to include all four locks in the 23, with Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager starting and Pieter-Steph du Toit and Franco Mostert as substitutes.
De Jager has already indicated South Africa are planning to target Australia’s lineout, which was abysmal against New Zealand. Having four locks at his disposal would mean Coetzee would have fresh legs in the tight phases throughout the whole 80 minutes of the game.
The Springbok team to play Australia will be named on Wednesday evening.