Sean McMahon of the Wallabies makes a break during the Rugby Championship match against Argentina at nib Stadium.
Sean McMahon of the Wallabies makes a break during the Rugby Championship match against Argentina at nib Stadium. Cameron Spencer

History against the Wallabies in South Africa

RUGBY: The Wallabies will have to rewrite the record books if they are to add to their two-game winning run with success over South Africa in Pretoria on Sunday morning (AEST).

Australia has a poor record against the Springboks in the Rainbow Nation, winning 10 of 43 games, and only three of its past 17 there.

The last victory came back in 2011 in Durban.

But the most damning statistic is that in six games at Loftus Versfeld, the venue for this clash, the Springboks have prevailed in all.

In fact, the Wallabies suffered a 61-22 thumping in 1997 - the most points they have conceded in one match, and the second-biggest loss to South Africa.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and his team will take some confidence into the Rugby Championship clash, however, having beaten South Africa in the last game between the two sides in Brisbane last month.

They followed that up with a strong performance in a success over Argentina last time out, but Cheika will know his team has it all to do against a home team determined to turn around its own form slump.

Cheika has made one change from that win over the Pumas in Perth, with Sean McMahon replacing Lopeti Timani at No.8.

McMahon has not started for Australia since the third and final Test against England in Sydney in June.

The 22-year-old did not play in the two Bledisloe Cup defeats to the All Blacks but earned a recall to the bench for the last two Rugby Championship games.

Cheika said McMahon could give the likes of Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman and Dean Mumm a chop out in the lineouts.

"He's (McMahon) done a lot of work on his jump, so we feel confident for him to be able to perform on the lineout as well,” Cheika said.

The coach said McMahon's work around the ground could also give the Wallabies the edge, especially without the injured David Pocock.

"It's nice for us to be able to add a strong ball carrier into the back row,” Cheika said.

"He's maybe not as tall as your traditional eight, but he's starting to get some of the qualities that a traditional eight has - ball carries, a strong tackle - which Poey's (Pocock) got as well.

"I'm going to enjoy watching him play because the conditions will suit him. It will be a fast game and a hard ground will suit him.

"I'm pretty pleased he's going to get a chance.”

Cheika is set to name his reserves tomorrow, but it seems he is edging towards Waratahs prop Tom Robertson to get the spot instead of Allan Alaalatoa, who did not take part in two training sessions this week after picking up a knee injury against the Springboks in Brisbane.

James Hanson looks set to get the nod ahead of Tatafu-Polota Nau as reserve hooker, with either Henry Speight or newcomer Sefu Naivalu as wing replacements.

Wallabies starting line-up: Scott Sio, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Dean Mumm, Michael Hooper, Sean McMahon, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Reece Hodge, Bernard Foley, Samu Kerevi, Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau.

NRL legend is set for his next chapter

premium_icon NRL legend is set for his next chapter

Thurston talks to the NewsMail about life after football

Controversial 1770 development decision spurs robust debate

premium_icon Controversial 1770 development decision spurs robust debate

Councillors vote to approve 1770 development despite reservations.

Local Partners