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McKenzie could make changes

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has refused to rule out tinkering with his line-up ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against South Africa in Brisbane.

McKenzie gave little away at his Monday press conference but left the door ajar for Reds fly-half Quade Cooper to make his return to the run-on side against the Springboks.

Cooper, who has not started a Test since last September against Argentina, has been widely tipped to replace Brumbies fly-half Matt Toomua in the number 10 jersey at Suncorp Stadium.

McKenzie did not talk specifics but hinted at changes to his squad as the Wallabies look to bounce back from consecutive losses to New Zealand.

"There's always the potential for change because we're playing a different team in a different context," McKenzie told Sportal.

"So different things might come into play, so we'll definitely be looking at that (making changes), yeah."

Several former Wallabies have called for code-hopper Israel Folau to be shifted from wing to full-back to replace Brumbies rookie Jesse Mogg, who struggled against the All Blacks.

But McKenzie would not be drawn on selections ahead of Wednesday's team announcement.

Meanwhile, the Wallabies coach is not expecting too many surprises from the Springboks, who started their Rugby Championship campaign with a 73-13 thrashing of Argentina in Soweto and an unimpressive 22-17 victory over the Pumas in Mendoza.

"I think that they've been pretty consistent with how they've played the game, so there's a lot of certainty about how they go about their business," he said.

"They've got a lot of experienced players in key positions so that's been working for them.

"I don't think there's any confusion about how they go about it. Their formula works for them so that's how they do it, that's the Springbok way.

"We're in the process of working on how we want to do it - the Australian way - but it's a bit different so you've got a clash of rugby approaches but that's just the way it is."

McKenzie insists his own players are in good spirits despite consecutive losses to the All Blacks and called for patience from Wallabies fans as his players adapt to a new style of play.

"The mindset of the players has been pretty good. I've got a pretty committed group of guys who are trying to do everything right and who are actually trying to get in the same space," he said.

"What you do have is when you look at the detail of the game under pressure, and the All Blacks can put you under pressure.

"What happens under that pressure is we haven't always reverted to our base philosophies, we've actually strayed from that at times and that's the instinctive part we talk about.

"That's no-one's fault, it's just that's the way it is. Time will develop the instincts around how we want to function under pressure.

"It's hard to fake that. The more we spend time together the better that will become."


From Belfast Telegraph