* Vermeulen comes in at number eight for Perth test
* Meyer makes changes after Argentina draw
(Adds quotes, details)
Sept 5 (Reuters) - South African number eight Duane
Vermeulen will make his test debut in Saturday's Rugby
Championship clash with Australia in Perth after being named in
the Springbok side on Wednesday.
Under-fire coach Heyneke Meyer has brought in three new
players and made two positional changes to the side that were
held to a 16-16 draw in Argentina in their last outing In the
southern hemisphere's new international competition.
In addition to the powerful Vermeulen, Meyer has named Ruan
Pienaar at scrumhalf, while Juandre Kruger replaces the dropped
Andries Bekker at lock.
Pacy back Francois Hougaard goes out to the wing to allow
Pienaar to start at halfback, while Willem Alberts moves to
flanker to make room for Vermeulen at the back of the scrum.
"We've decided to put Duane straight into the starting team
because he is a classic number eight, a position we've lacked in
since Pierre Spies got injured and Ryan Kankowski moved to
Japan," Meyer said.
"I've always admired the way Duane plays rugby and he's
fitted in very well the past week. He would've been a Springbok
years ago if it had not been for injuries and it's great to
finally see him selected."
With Morne Steyn retaining the flyhalf spot and no
specialist openside flanker in the starting line-up, there is no
indication the Springboks will change their tactics of trying to
outmuscle the opposition up front and kick for territory.
Meyer has given himself options on the bench, however, where
20-year-old livewire flyhalf Johan Goosen will be itching to get
on to the pitch for his test debut.
"(Johan) in my mind can become one of the great flyhalves in
world rugby," said Meyer. "I've been very impressed with his
work ethic and attitude since he joined the squad on Thursday in
Johannesburg and we will keep on managing him carefully over the
next few weeks."
Ball-poaching flanker Francois Louw was also named among the
replacements having been called up from English club Bath for
the tour of Australia and New Zealand.
"By including Francois on the bench, we have a specialist
opensider, but also a versatile loose forward that brings a bit
more balance to our back row mix," Meyer added.
Adriaan Strauss was named in the side at hooker despite
concerns over a "mild" knee ligament injury and he will be
monitored in training for the rest of the week with Tiaan
Liebenberg on standby to win his second cap.
The Springboks will be looking to end a run of four defeats
against Australia, which includes the quarter-final loss at last
year's World Cup in New Zealand.
Team: 15-Zane Kirchner, 14-Bryan Habana, 13-Jean de Villiers
(captain), 12-Francois Steyn, 11-Francois Hougaard, 10-Morne
Steyn, 9-Ruan Pienaar, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Willem Alberts,
6-Marcell Coetzee, 5-Juandre Kruger, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Jannie
du Plessis, 2-Adriaan Strauss, 1-Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16-Tiaan Liebenberg, 17-Pat Cilliers, 18-Flip
van der Merwe, 19-Francois Louw, 20-Johan Goosen, 21-Patrick
Lambie, 22-Lwazi Mvovo.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Patrick Johnston)