Winless new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie brought in four changes to the 15 which began in the two Bledisloe Cup/ Rugby Championship defeats to New Zealand.

Sekope Kepu’s in at tighthead prop for Ben Alexander while the reshuffle at the back for Folau means Jesse Mogg goes to the bench and ‘Honey Badger’ Nick Cummins returns to the wing after an injury layoff.

Queensland Reds back rower Jake Schatz will also debut if he gets a run from the bench.

But there’s no bigger move from McKenzie than the reintroduction of Cooper to the number 10 jersey he hasn’t worn since the Wallabies beat South Africa and Argentina in September last year – they play Argentina next week.

Naturally, McKenzie is playing the story down, given any yarn involving Cooper – quitting rugby, calling the environment toxic, becoming a boxer – usually comes with its own drama.

“We have very specific thoughts about how we want to play this game and feel Quade is best suited to carrying that out,” said Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.

“He’s been part of our matchday squad in both games so far but his role now changes from being a finisher to starting the game. We feel that role will suit how we want to play.

“He is also an experienced and successful Test player, which is handy to have against a hardened Springboks outfit.

“McKenzie said his work on and off the field has earned him the shot.“He’s carried himself extremely well all year and during the last fortnight in the role we’ve asked him to complete. Now, he gets a chance to make an impact from the start of the game.”

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After Folau signed onto the rugby for two years saying he was enticed by the prospect of playing fullback, where he plays for the Waratahs, and the World Cup next year, he’s got a go in the position he wants.

“Israel has played more fullback than on the wing so he will undoubtedly feel comfortable playing the position. He has looked impressive at training and we think he will add value with how we want to approach the game,” McKenzie said.

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer said McKenzie’s intentions were clear from his selections.

”It’s a really full-on attack team, without talking them up too much, I truly believe it is one of the best back lines we have faced, not just this year,” Meyer said.

”They’re going to move the ball with Folau at fullback, they’ll attack our forwards on the blind [side]. With Cummins coming in, I’ve always rated him, he is a very strong runner.

”And the one thing they’ll look for is that their back three is very good under the high ball so they know how we’re going to play and we know how they’re going to play.”

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Christian Lealiifano, James O’Connor, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Ben Mowen, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, James Horwill (c), Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Reserves: Saia Fainga’a, Scott Sio, Ben Alexander, Kane Douglas, Jake Schatz, Nic White, Matt Toomua, Jesse Mogg.

South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Willie Le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juandre Kruger, Siya Kolisi, Jano Vermaak, Pat Lambie, Jan Serfontein.

Images via Getty