Sale Sharks scrum-half Faf de Klerk and RC Toulon lock Eben Etzebeth have both been handed returns to the starting XV for South Africa as the World Cup winners face off against Australia in the Gold Coast on Saturday. 

De Klerk, who has been sidelined with injury that he sustained during the second Test against the British and Irish Lions last month, takes the No.9 jersey with half-back partner Handre Pollard taking the kicking responsibility. 

Toulon’s Etzebeth starts in the second row alongside Lood De Jager but his new Toulon teammate Cheslin Kolbe is unavailable. 

The former Toulouse wing – who helped the French side to a fifth Heineken Champions Cup last season – picked up a head knock in the previous game and misses out with Sbu Nkosi taking his place at right wing. 

Speaking after today’s announcement, Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber said: “Duane [Vermeulen], Faf and Herschel [Jantjies] are Rugby World Cup winners, and so is Eben, who is back after we rotated him to manage his workload, while Marco has made a strong impact on the field this season as well, so we are pleased to have them back in the fold.  

“Australia pose a strong threat with their running rugby and they like to keep the ball in play. They will also be playing in front of a charged-up home crowd, so it will be good to have these experienced players back as they know what it takes to perform in big matches.”