Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls could be forced to make adjustments for next month’s tri-series following the reported withdrawal of South Africa from the tour.

Originally, the series was set to feature the no 4 ranked Jamaicans, 5th ranked Australians and 10th ranked Trinidad and Tobago and was set to tip-off on October 9th.  However, negotiations between Netball South Africa and the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) are said to have broken down due to the island’s rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The JNA is expected to give an update on the situation in the next few weeks with a replacement team being added being another possibility that is being looked at.

The series will be the first for the Jamaicans since the Netball World Cup in 2020, the team is, however, also expected to travel to England, in September, where they will face the England Roses in a three-match series.  The Sunshine Girls had been due to face England in January of this year, but those plans were postponed due to then-existing Covid-19 travel restrictions.  The team will be looking to vastly increase its activities in the coming months with the Commonwealth Games scheduled for next year.

West Indies Women’s coach Courtney Walsh admits the team’s inability to properly rotate the strike was a disappointment during the recent series against South Africa, as it had been a key area of focus ahead of the games.

The regional team just managed to avoid being on the wrong end of a sweep, after winning the final game of the series in a super over.  The 4-1 scoreline was, however, an accurate reflection of the fact that the West Indies Women had struggled to keep pace with the South Africans for the great majority of the One Day Internationals.

One of those key areas was putting runs on the board, with the Windies Women on many occasions looking bogged down by South Africa’s bowling, before being dismissed after ill-advised shots.  On four occasions the team struggled to get to one 150, a target that seemed an easy reach for South Africa.

 “It’s a concern, the rotation of the strike, it’s something we’ve been talking about since the start of the camp but it was highlighted much more against South Africa,” Walsh told members of the media.

“In terms of just hitting the fielders and not being able to find gaps, not being able to play with soft hands and we have identified that,” he added.

“It has been an ongoing discussion before the series and it was one area I was disappointed in that we did not try to show that (strike rotation) because leading up to the series we had been practicing it, but match-day when we get out in the middle it wasn’t done.  We just kept picking out the fielders.  It’s the sort of the thing you have to do in 50 over games if you want to really compete and it has to be addressed.”

 

New Zealand are on the brink of landing the Rugby Championship title ahead of their 100th Test against holders South Africa in Townsville on Saturday.

The All Blacks have been in a class of their own, taking maximum points from four matches to put one hand on the trophy and replace the world champions at the top of the rankings.

South Africa are smarting from back-to-back defeats to Australia, leaving them 10 points adrift of the leaders with two games against Ian Foster's side to play.

Australia are just a point behind the Springboks ahead of their clash with Argentina this weekend.

Here, we use Opta data to preview the double-header at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

 

NEW ZEALAND V SOUTH AFRICA

Form

There appears to be no stopping New Zealand at the moment, with their winning run standing at nine matches following back-to-back defeats of Argentina.

The last time the All Blacks enjoyed a longer winning streak was in October 2016, when they completed a run of 18 on the spin.

South Africa, on the other hand, are two without a win and have not had a worse run since losing four in a row from October to November five years ago.

 

 


Ones to watch

Akira Ioane is one of eight New Zealand players to be facing South Africa for the first time. Starting at blindside flanker on Saturday, his potency in the Springbok half could be key – only Jordie Barrett (nine) has beaten more defenders in opposition territory than Ioane (eight) in the 2021 competition.

Lood de Jager is back following concussion to reunite with Eben Etzebeth in the Springbok second row. They, along with Argentina's Guido Petti, are the only players to have stolen multiple lineouts at this year's tournament.

AUSTRALIA V ARGENTINA

Form

Australia are on a high after two impressive wins over South Africa, playing some entertaining rugby in a 30-17 bonus-point win in Brisbane last weekend.

Argentina are rooted to the foot of the table without a point from four matches, with a points difference of minus 101.

Each of the last two Tests between these nations ended in a draw. Only once in Test history have any tier one nations drawn three in a row (England vs France from February 1959 to February 1961).

Ones to watch

Australia captain Michael Hooper tends to enjoy facing Argentina: his most recent five home Tests against the Pumas have yielded a personal haul of four tries and one assist.

Argentina's best hope of springing a surprise could rest on the shoulders of Marcos Kremer, who is the only player in this championship to have registered more than 30 in both carries (31) and tackles (48). Another big showing from flanker Kremer might give the South American side a sniff.

West Indies Women won the fifth and final CG Insurance One-Day International against South Africa Women on Sunday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. After the full 100 overs, the match was tied – a run out off the last ball left South Africa on 192-7 off their 50 overs in reply to West Indies 192-5.

The match then went to the one-over eliminator and the home team scored 7-1 after the visitors made 6-0.

West Indies made their highest score of the series, thanks to a career-best knock from Rashada Williams – playing her fifth match.

The opening batter, top-scored with 78 not out off 138 balls as she batted through the innings. Then, off-spinner Sheneta Grimmond took a career-best 4-33 off her 10 overs in her sixth match, as South Africa slipped from 111-0 to 143-6 in the space of 13 overs.

“It was a great finish and I’m happy I played my part in today’s win. We really wanted to win, and we gave it all we had. The end was amazing with the run out off the last ball. We didn’t panic, we were focused, we kept our nerve in the ‘super over’ and it felt great to win,” said Grimmond, who was named CG Insurance Player-of-the-Match.

Match Summary: West Indies Women 192-5 off 50 overs (Rashada Williams 78 not out, Hayley Matthews 48; Nadine de Klerk 3-33) South Africa Women 192-7 off 50 overs (Lizelle Lee 61, Tazmin Brits 48, Mignon du Preez 46; Sheneta Grimmond 4-33, Qiana Joseph 2-29)

New Zealand returned to the top of the world rankings with their win over Argentina on Saturday, but coach Ian Foster is more concerned by the upcoming double-header against South Africa.

With a 36-13 defeat of the Pumas in Brisbane – their ninth consecutive Test win – New Zealand leapfrogged South Africa at the summit.

Foster's side also moved 10 points clear at the top of the Rugby Championship table and could wrap up the title even with a defeat against the Springboks next time out – if the All Blacks secure a losing bonus or prevent their opponents earning a try bonus.

But the opportunity to test themselves against the world champions is of greater interest in what will be the 100th Test meeting between the teams.

Asked about New Zealand's number one ranking, Foster said: "My mindset is you've got to beat number one to be number one.

"It's not on our mind at all. I'm not saying that to downplay it. We're about to play South Africa next week, we'll get excited about that.

"We're more interested in winning a Test match than where we sit [in the rankings].

"If we focus too much on the other thing, we'll get tripped up and won't be there for very long, and that doesn't interest us either."

Of the South Africa matches, he added: "We love playing Test matches, but we really love playing South Africa, probably because of the amount of respect we've got for them.

"Over history, it's been an outstanding rivalry.

"We're not so much talking about number ones and number twos, we've got a chance to go to Townsville to play a foe we've got a lot of respect for and put ourselves in a pretty nice position in this championship."

Australia got the better of South Africa for the second week running as Len Ikitau and Marika Koroibete led the Wallabies to a 30-17 victory in the Rugby Championship.

Having triumphed 28-26 over the Springboks on the Gold Coast last week, Australia came out on top again in Saturday's tussle in Brisbane.

The victory takes Australia to within one point of the second-place Springboks on 10 points, who are five behind leaders and reigning champions New Zealand, who face Argentina in the later game.

Quade Cooper was the star for Australia last time out, converting eight kicks, though he missed his first two-pointer here after Ikitau had crossed following Faf de Klerk's early booking for knocking the ball from Nic White's hands.

Handre Pollard pulled the 'Boks to within two points with a long-range penalty, though Australia swiftly struck again, Ikitau once more finding the gap and this time Cooper hit his mark from the conversion.

Pollard hit another two penalties either side of a Cooper three-pointer as, back to their full count, South Africa attempted to turn the screw, yet even with Lachlan Swinton seeing yellow (after initially being given a red card for a high tackle) the visitors could not prise Australia's defence open before the break.

Lukhanyo Am finally managed to do so just after the break to nose South Africa ahead for the first time, but it was a short-lived lead, Cooper winning a penalty and converting it before Koroibete steamed in for his first.

Cooper made no mistake and, five minutes later, Koroibete helped himself to his second to wrap up the result – Jasper Wiese's late yellow adding more frustration for the Springboks.

No place like home

Australia are now undefeated in their past seven men's Tests against South Africa on home soil (W6, D1), although Saturday is the first time they have won by a margin of seven points or more in that span. It is also the first time the Wallabies have earned back-to-back wins in men's international rugby since October 2019.

South Africa's resistance stutters

Heading into the match, South Africa had conceded just 13 points in the final quarters of games in the tournament, fewer than any other team. However, Australia had scored the most points (27) in the last 20 minutes, and they took that tally to 39 with their 12 points scored between the 62nd and 68th minutes, breaking the Springboks' resolve in the process.

Opening batter Rashada Williams unveiled a wide range of shots in a determined knock for West Indies Women but the home side could not stave off defeat against South Africa Women on Thursday.

South Africa will attempt to spoil Michael Hooper's record-breaking Australia appearance when the Springboks go on a Rugby Championship revenge mission on Saturday.

Hooper will captain the Wallabies for a 60th time at Suncorp Stadium, surpassing the number of times George Gregan led Australia out.

A special occasion for the skipper will come six days after Quade Cooper marked his international return by kicking a dramatic winning penalty against the Boks on the Gold Coast.

Holders South Africa were consigned to a stunning 28-26 defeat in Queensland and trail leaders New Zealand by five points.

Australia are unbeaten in six Tests against the Springboks on home soil ahead of the round-four showdown, after achieving their first win of this year's tournament last weekend.

The All Blacks have maximum points from three matches and can take another stride towards regaining the title by beating Argentina.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta facts to preview the Rugby Championship double-header in Brisbane.

 


AUSTRALIA V SOUTH AFRICA

Form

South Africa will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats in men's Tests for the first time since November 2018.

Australia have not won back-to-back Tests since October 2019 and may need to show their staying power once again to get their hands on the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate.

Dave Rennie's side have scored 27 points in the final quarter of games in this tournament, more than any other quarter of a match.

Nic White, James Slipper and Taniela Tupou come into the Australia team. Jacques Nienaber makes three changes to South Africa's matchday squad, with Marvin Orie and Trevor Nyakane starting. Cheslin Kolbe is not ready to return from injury.

 

Ones to watch

Andrew Kellaway scored Australia's only try in last week's win over the world champions.

The wing is the joint-leading try-scorer in the tournament with three, alongside David Havili and Malcolm Marx. 

With Lood de Jager absent due to concussion, Orie takes over at lock for South Africa.

De Jager has won a competition-high 22 lineouts, including three steals, so Orie has big shoes to fill.

 

ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND

Form

The All Blacks dished out a 39-0 thrashing to Argentina in round three, Luke Jacobson scoring two of their five tries.

New Zealand have kept the Pumas scoreless in each of their past two meetings and have only failed to beat them in two of 32 previous encounters.

Argentina have lost three consecutive Tests, having lost only twice in their 10 prior to that run.

Joe Moody comes into a much-changed All Blacks side and Ardie Savea returns as captain, while Samisoni Taukei'aho makes his first Test start. Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tuungafasi are also among the starters.

Santiago Carreras starts for Argentina at fly-half, while Pablo Matera takes the number eight shirt as Mario Ledesma makes six changes.

 

Ones to watch

The versatile Damian McKenzie gets the chance to start a second Test at fly-half for the All Blacks.

Playmaker McKenzie can put on a show at number 10 and pull the strings in tandem with scrum-half TJ Perenara.

Pumas captain Julian Montoya won three turnovers in the defeat to the All Blacks last weekend and his tally of four is twice as many as any other player in the tournament.

Montoya has not missed any of his 40 tackles in the competition.

Michael Hooper will become the Wallabies' most-capped captain when he leads Australia out against world champions South Africa.

The Wallabies announced their side for Saturday's clash with the Springboks as Hooper prepares to make history in the Rugby Championship showdown at Suncorp Stadium.

Hooper – who debuted in 2012 – will captain Australia for the 60th time in Brisbane, surpassing George Gregan after equalling the record in last week's dramatic victory over South Africa.

"It's an incredible milestone for Hoops on Saturday evening in Brisbane and it's a testament to him as a person and a player," Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie said on Thursday.

"I've been so impressed with his leadership both on and off the field and his drive to be better every day.

"We were really proud of the effort from our men last Sunday and we're well aware of the ferocity that a wounded Springboks outfit will bring to Suncorp Stadium."

Rennie has elevated Nic White and Taniela Tupou to the starting side for the second Test against the Springboks.

White replaces Tate McDermott and Tupou comes in for Allan Alaalatoa, while James Slipper returns to the starting line-up, though James O'Connor remains on the sidelines.

Australia will be looking to claim consecutive Test wins in men's international rugby for the first time since October 2019 after a two-point win over South Africa – that was also the last time the Wallabies won a Test by more than three points.

The Wallabies are undefeated in their last six men's Tests against South Africa on home soil (W5, D1); although, none of their five wins in that span have come by a margin of seven points or more on the day.

 

Australia: Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White; James Slipper, Folau Fainga'a, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Matt Philip, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini.
Replacements: Feleti Kaitu'u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia

The West Indies Women lost the third CG Insurance ODI against South Africa Women by 8 wickets at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on Monday to take an unassailable lead in the five-match series.

Batting first, West Indies Women posted 157 all out in 48.4 overs. South Africa Women reached 158-2 in 36.4 overs to achieve victory.

West Indies owed their total to a patient 71 from Deandra Dottin and 37 from Rashada Williams. However, the batters were unable to rotate the strike with any regularity barely getting to three runs an over by the side was bowled out eight balls short of their 50-over allotment.

Shabnim Ismail took 3-31 and Ayabonga Khaka 2-22 to stifle the West Indies batters.

In reply, Lizelle Lee scored an unbeaten 78 and Laura Wolvaardt, a solid 53 as the visitors cruised to victory with 13.2 overs to spare.

Qiana Joseph took the only wickets to fall and finished with figures of creditable figures of 2-24.

Interim Captain Anisa Mohamed pulled no punches in her assessment of the team’s performance in yet another lopsided loss.

"I think the batters need to step up and make some runs for us. 157 runs in a 50-over game... you're only going at three runs per over which is easy pickings for a team like South Africa,” she said.

“I thought Williams and Dottin played really well today but again, they need that support. A couple of others need to step up and stay there with them."

Mohammed added: "A lot of people have been saying that South Africa have gone past us but I keep saying to the team I don't believe that. I believe that we're just not playing our best cricket. Look back at the third T20I and South Africa weren't able to beat us, so if we come out here on a game day and play our best cricket, South Africa is not going to beat us."

The two teams will switch venues to the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground for the remaining two matches on Thursday, September 16 and Sunday, September 19.

 The first ball is at 10 am local time (9 am Jamaica Time).

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Women’s Selection Panel has announced the West Indies Women’s 13-member squad for the third CG Insurance ODIs against South Africa Women to be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) today. First ball 9 am (10 am).

There is a return of experienced seamer Shakera Selman, who was rested for the first two matches. Middle-order batter Britney Cooper has been ruled out the remainder of the series due to medical reasons.

“The first two ODIs have proven to be difficult matches. The batters have not yet given the expected performances. Although South Africa is one of the higher-ranked teams, there are experienced batters in our team who have to settle down and produce some scores,” said Chief Selector Ann Browne-John.

“Them scoring will surely give a level of confidence to the lower order and also give the bowlers a score to defend. We also have the return of Shakera Selman to the 13 which gives an additional and experienced bowling option.”

The full squad comprises  Anisa Mohammed (Captain), Deandra Dottin (Vice-Captain), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shamilia Connell, Shabika Gajnabi, Qiana Joseph, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews,  Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman and Rashada Williams.

Quinton de Kock hit an unbeaten 58 as South Africa clinched the T20I series against Sri Lanka with a nine-wicket thumping on Sunday.

The Proteas, who won Friday's opener in the series by 28 runs, were hardly tested by their flat opponents, who managed just 103 in 18.1 overs. That was their lowest first-innings total at home in this short format.

South Africa wasted little time chasing that figure down, De Kock helping them open up a 2-0 series lead inside 15 overs.

Sri Lanka had little answer to South Africa's spinners – Bjorn Fortuin, Aiden Markram, captain Keshav Maharai and Tabraiz Shamsi – who took nine wickets and conceded just 63 runs in their 14.1 overs.

Markram finished with a career-best three for 21, which included the wicket of opener Kusal Perera for 30.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka's next highest scorer with 20 as the hosts lost seven for a paltry 32 runs between the 10th and 19th overs.

Sri Lanka failed to get rid of De Kock with a review following the fourth delivery of South Africa's innings and the 28-year-old did not look back.

He brought up his 10th T20I fifty, and fourth of the year, after his opening stand with Reeza Hendricks was broken in the ninth over when Hendricks was caught by Dinesh Chandimal off the bowling of Wanindu Hasaranga.

Markram added an unbeaten 21 as South Africa reached their target with almost seven overs to spare.

De Kock proves his importance

De Kock was rested for the ODI series, which Sri Lanka won 2-1, and he showed his worth here. He steered his side to victory with an unbeaten 58 off 48 deliveries and will be a key figure if South Africa are to challenge for the T20 World Cup, which begins next month.

Perera not backed up by team-mates

Perera got Sri Lanka off to a solid start with 30 from 25 balls, but his team-mates failed miserably to capitalise. The 31-year-old, making his comeback after recovering from COVID-19, hit a third of his side's runs, with only three others reaching double figures.

Quade Cooper made a sensational match-winning return as Australia got up and running in the Rugby Championship with a last-gasp 28-26 victory over South Africa on Sunday. 

Following back-to-back defeats to New Zealand to start the competition, veteran fly-half Cooper was named in the starting line-up for the visit of the world champions – his first international appearance since June 2017. 

The 33-year-old's kicking was exemplary, slotting through a seventh penalty and eighth successful kick of the game from 40 metres with the clock in the red to snatch the win at the death. 

Handre Pollard and Cooper scored two penalties apiece before Siya Kolisi's yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Tom Banks was pounced upon by Australia.

Samu Kerevi's excellent pass released Andrew Kellaway, who cut in off the right wing and dived in behind the posts. 

The Springboks responded well and Bongi Mbonambi powered over from the back of a driving maul after Matt Philip was sent to the sin bin for repeated ruck infringements, but the Wallabies still took an eight-point lead into the break. 

Willie Le Roux was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on in the 52nd minute and he was joined in the bin by Folau Fainga'a before replacement hooker Malcolm Marx touched down in the middle of another driving maul. 

Marx did likewise in the 72nd minute for his second try to put the Springboks in front, but Damian Willemse made a costly miss when attempting to convert from the tee. 

And after South Africa conceded a penalty at the death for not releasing on the ground, Cooper made them pay with a winning kick. 

Quade a display

He may have made 70 previous appearances for the Wallabies, but Cooper only scored 10 points or more in six of those matches. His 23 points against South Africa was consequently his best display for his country.

Hooper at the heart

Cooper may have taken the headlines, but Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper was formidable in the pack. He made two of his team's three clean breaks and did not miss any of his eight tackles.

Australia are looking for a lift and have turned to Quade Cooper to provide guile from number 10 against South Africa as the Rugby Championship resumes.

Three weeks on from the second round of games, Australia and the Springboks go head to head, and New Zealand tackle Argentina, with both games being played on Sunday at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.

The Wallabies took a Bledisloe Cup drubbing at the hands of the All Blacks, losing all three games in that series, with two of those forming part of this tournament, so they are looking for a spark and will hope Cooper, making his first international appearance in over four years, can provide that.

The 33-year-old last featured, briefly, against Italy in June 2017 and now plays for Japanese team Kintetsu Liners.

His career looked to be in steep decline at one point, as Cooper lost his place in not only the Australia squad during Michael Cheika's reign as coach, but also fell out of favour with the Queensland Reds.

Now he is set for a 71st Test appearance, having been originally beckoned into Dave Rennie's squad as a training player.

South Africa make seven changes to their starting XV for the match, with number eight Duane Vermeulen selected to make his first appearance for the Boks since the 2019 World Cup final after recovering from ankle surgery.

There are changes afoot for New Zealand too, with lock Brodie Retallick named captain for the clash with Argentina as Ardie Savea sits the game out after taking a knock to the head last week.

Ahead of the crunch double-header, the third of six rounds of games in the championship, Stats Perform looks at the key Opta facts.

NEW ZEALAND v ARGENTINA

Form

The All Blacks are inevitably on a high after crushing the Bledisloe Cup aspirations of their trans-Tasman rivals and duly making a strong start to the championship. They have full-back Jordie Barrett available despite his red card against Australia last time out after the punishment was rescinded on appeal in midweek.

New Zealand have won their last seven men's Tests on the bounce by an average margin of 40 points per game. The last time they won more in succession was a nine-game streak from November 2017 to September 2018 which included a 46-24 win over Argentina.

They have not always had it easy against the South American powerhouses, though. Their clashes in last year's Tri-Nations were memorable, with Argentina scoring a stunning 25-15 win over the All Blacks on November 14, 2020, only to then lose 38-0 when they met again a fortnight later. New Zealand have won 29 of their 31 Tests against Argentina (D1, L1).

New Zealand have had just 12 minutes and 53 seconds of possession per game in this year's Rugby Championship, the lowest of any team in the competition. Despite this, they lead the competition in metres gained (615), clean breaks (15), and points scored (48) per game.

Argentina's two defeats to South Africa in the opening two rounds suggest they might find the going tough this weekend.

Ones to watch

Blindside flanker Akira Ioane has crossed the gainline on 17 of his 18 gainline carries for New Zealand in the competition so far. His 94 per cent rate is the highest of any player to have made at least 10 gainline carries in this tournament.

Retallick will carry the responsibility of leadership after he was favoured ahead of Beauden Barrett who, at fly-half, was judged to have enough going on without having to issue orders.

Coach Ian Foster said of Retallick, who has returned to Test action this year after a spell in Japan: "He's back, he's confident, he's got the smile on his face, and that's part of the biggest thing with Brodie. When he's settled and he loves the environment, then he can go out and express himself.

"And I don't want a lot to change with that captaincy band. It's one of the challenges of giving it to someone like Brodie, do you force him into someone that he's not? But I'm really comfortable. He knows his role, he's clear and the boys certainly want to follow him."

Discipline will be important for both sides, with Argentina having received six yellow cards and one red card in their last six men's Tests, including two yellow cards against the Boks last time out. They had received only one yellow card and one red card in their previous 25 Tests.

SOUTH AFRICA v AUSTRALIA

Form

After the tussle between the All Blacks and Pumas, perhaps this can be considered the headline match of the weekend, an embattled Australia facing World Cup winners who are aiming for a statement victory.

For COVID-19 reasons, Queensland is staging the remainder of this tournament, and Australia coach Rennie will look for a response from his players to their sequence of losses.

The three-in-a-row streak is a concern, and the last time the Wallabies lost more in succession was a four-game stretch from June to August in 2018. They lost twice to Ireland and twice to New Zealand before ending that losing run with a 23-18 success against South Africa.

Australia have won 19 of their last 24 men's Tests at home against South Africa, logging just three defeats in that span (D2). They are undefeated in their last five such fixtures (W4, D1), yet each of those games has featured a margin of fewer than seven points on the day.

It could be tight again, with South Africa having won 15 of their 18 Tests since the beginning of 2019. They have won their last four on the bounce, and their 83 per cent win rate since the beginning of 2019 is the best of any top-tier team in that time.

South Africa defeated Argentina 29-10 in the second round, while Australia went down 38-21 to New Zealand in Perth.

The Springboks have missed the fewest tackles per game (16) so far in the championship and have the highest tackle success rate (89 per cent) of any team. Australia’s tackle success rate of 82 per cent is the lowest of the four sides, but the context is that they were facing the All Blacks.

South Africa have created 20 mauls throughout this tournament, which is twice as many as any other team and five times as many as Australia (4); the Springboks have gained 56 metres and scored one try from those mauls.

Ones to watch

Australia scrum-half Tate McDermott has beaten nine defenders in this year's Rugby Championship, the second-most of any player (Akira Ioane – 12). He beat seven defenders against the All Blacks in the last round, and only twice in the last decade has any scrum-half from a tier one nation made more (Antoine Dupont 9, Francois Hougaard 8).

He therefore has a pivotal role to play, and how he combines with Cooper will be keenly observed.

Rennie said he was "thrilled" to be able to be giving Cooper another chance to show his quality at this level, and it remains to be seen whether this is a one-off comeback or something that might have longer-term legs.

Michael Hooper will match George Gregan's record of 59 matches as captain of Australia as he wins a 112th cap, and there are other landmarks set to arise. Reece Hodge, who starts on the bench, and Allan Alaalatoa will each win 50th caps.

Rennie described the match as "a huge occasion" for Hooper, hailing his longevity as "testament to his leadership and resilience".

Boks coach Jacques Nienaber said of the occasion: "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."

South Africa have won their last two Tests on the bounce against Australia, as many as they had won in their eight encounters prior (D2, L4). The last time they won more successive games against the Wallabies was a three-game winning stretch from September 2012 to September 2013.

South Africa put the disappointment of losing the ODI series behind them as they eased to a 28-run victory over Sri Lanka in the opening T20I on Friday.

Led by Aiden Markram's excellent 48 from 33 balls, the Proteas were on dominant form in Colombo, successfully defending their 163-5 total.

Making his T20I debut, South Africa captain Keshav Maharaj won the toss and chose to bat, with his openers swiftly proving that decision correct.

Quinton de Kock (36) set the tone with a boundary off the second ball and Reeza Hendricks soon skittled off 12 runs in the space of three deliveries to get South Africa up and running.

Both openers had moved into the 30s by the ninth over, though De Kock was the first to fall when he sliced a sweep to deep midwicket.

Wanindu Hasaranga picked up his and Sri Lanka's second wicket in his next over, dismissing Hendricks for 38, but Markram – with support from David Miller (26) – put South Africa back on the front foot.

Markram fell just short of a half-century in the penultimate over, though the damage was done as South Africa set a challenging target of 164.

Sri Lanka started their chase confidently, and had 34 runs in the bank by the time Avishka Fernando succumbed in the sixth over.

Yet Maharaj's first ball in a T20I brought up the Proteas' second wicket – Bhanuka Rajapaksa going for a duck – and the hosts failed to keep up the run rate.

That was despite the best efforts of Dinesh Chandimal, who top-scored with 66 not out, but Chamika Karunaratne (22no) was his only team-mate to make it above 20 as Sri Lanka were limited to 135-6.

Memorable debut for Maharaj

Installed as captain on his maiden T20I appearance, the spinner took a wicket with his very first ball, after South Africa's batsmen had shown just why the 31-year-old was right to bat first.

Maharaj has plenty of international experience, with 36 Tests and 14 ODIs under his belt, and in total he has now taken 149 wickets for his country.

Chandimal cannot carry Sri Lanka

It was a valiant effort from Chandimal, whose unbeaten 66 included five fours and two sixes. However, he did not have the necessary support from the rest of Sri Lanka's batsmen, with two going for ducks and Dhananjaya de Silva only scoring one.

Chandimal did bring up his highest score in his T20I career, though, with the wicketkeeper's previous best having been 58, a score he made twice in 2016, against Pakistan and Australia.

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