Wallabies lose key players

The Springboks are likely to face a new-look Australia combination with news that lock Nathan Sharpe and inside centre Berrick Barnes are out of Saturday’s clash in Perth.

Sharpe suffered a blow to the shoulder in their defeat to New Zealand and his loss is a massive one, particularly as he has performed well against Springbok second row supremo Victor Matfield at lineout time in the past.

The loss of Barnes, who is suffering with a neck injury and concussion, is an equally telling blow, as he has become a key backline player for them in recent years.

Dean Mumm is expected to replace Sharpe in the starting line-up, with Mark Chisolm providing cover on the bench, while either Quade Cooper or Kurtley Beale will step in for Barnes.

There are further injury concerns for the Wallabies, with fullback James O’Connor (corked thigh) and flanker Rocky Elsom (ankle) in a race to regain fitness. They will be given until Thursday to prove their fitness.

Australia, who have to win all three their remaining Tests to have a shot at winning the title, have already lost skipper Stirling Mortlock for the tournament.

In addition, they are expected to make a change in their front row with Ben Alexander coming in for Al Baxter at tighthead prop.

This all means the Wallabies’ run-on side to face the Springboks could look dramatically different to the one which fronted at Newlands a fortnight ago.