Second Test: South Africa v Ireland Preview

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We take a look at the 2nd Test between South Africa & Ireland being played in Jo'burg.

The South Africans head into this one a game down and with their pride severely dented. They will have to up their game tenfold if they are to beat what will surely be a highly confident Irish outfit.

South Africa v Ireland | Saturday 18 June | Emirates Airline Park | 17:05

To Win (80 Mins)
South Africa 1/4 | Draw 25/1 | Ireland 28/10
Handicap
South Africa (-9.5) 9/10 | Ireland (-9.5) 9/10

South Africa
Allister Coetzee’s reign got off to a less than ideal start in Cape Town last week as his side were outsmarted by the Irish. While some of the blame must fall on Coetzee’s shoulders the starting XV and the senior boys, in particular, should shoulder the majority of it.

Duane Vermeulen, Lood de Jaeger, and Francois Louw put in shocking shifts. While Lood was decent at lineout time, he was appalling in the loose. Vermeulen and Louw were no better. The duo struggled to assert themselves at the breakdown.

There was an article doing the rounds this week which stated the ‘Boks only managed one turnover during the whole 80 minutes. And while I reckon that’s a bit of overstatement, I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the ‘Boks total turnover tally was below the five turnover mark.

The one shining light in the Springbok loose trio was Siya Kolisi. The Western Province man was like a bull terrier on heat. He hit ruck after ruck, carried the ball solidly, and produced one of the best handoffs I’ve ever seen.

While I understand Coetzee is reluctant to field Warren Whitely and Jaco Kriel due to their limited international experience, you can’t help but feel a loose trio of Kolisi and the two Lions boys would be a lot more helpful in implementing the attacking brand of rugby that Coetzee has set out to employ.

It wasn’t only the stalwarts in the pack that failed to fire. JP Pietersen, Willie Le Roux, and Damian de Allende looked so far off the pace that I wouldn’t be surprised if they are still running around Newlands trying to catch the Irish players' shadows.

Once again there were to be shining lights, however, with Faf de Klerk and Lwazi Mvovo putting in great shifts. Mvovo – who has struggled for his franchise during Super Rugby – was immaculate under the high ball while de Klerk’s passing from the base was as crisp as a Drakensberg morning breeze.

So there were a few decent performers in last week’s 26-20 defeat but the ‘Boks will need a lot more from their veterans if they are to level the series at Emirates Airline Park.

Allister Coetzee has opted to give said veterans a shot at redemption by naming an almost unchanged starting XV. The two alterations to the run on side see Pieter-Steph du Toit come in for Lood de Jaeger and Elton Jantjies come in for Patrick Lambie, who is still feeling the effects of CJ Stander’s attempted charge down.

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Ireland
I have to admit, I really thought Ireland stood no chance of winning the opening Test even before CJ Stander received his marching orders. The men from the Emerald Isle may have started the game brilliantly but I was sure the Boks had enough quality to get the win – so sure in fact, that I hopped on to Hollywoodbets’ Live In-Play platform and wagered 200 Rand on the highest minus handicap I could find.

I felt I was on for a decent windfall when South African-born Irish flanker CJ Stander received his marching orders for a less than cautious charge down attempt that ended with his hip colliding into Patrick Lambie’s face.

When everything was said and done, however, I was 200 Rand down and the Springboks were to receive a less than warm send off from an irate Newlands faithful.

Despite his side claiming a first ever victory in South Africa last week, Ireland mentor Joe Schmidt has opted to ring the changes for the second Test.

CJ Stander will sit this one out having copped a one-match ban for his ill attempted charge down. The flanker place in the run-on XV is taken by Iain Henderson who shifts to the flank from the second row. Henderson’s locking berth will be taken by South African-born Quinn Roux.

Other changes to the pack see the brilliantly named Tadhg Furlong come in at tighthead and Rhys Ruddock come in of the other flank.

In the backline, Stuart Marshall comes into the inside-centre berth in place of the impressive Luke Marshall while Craig Gilroy will take over from Keith Earls on the left wing.

Verdict: South Africa (-9.5) 9/10
I expect a ‘Bok backlash this weekend but it may only come in the second half. Vermeulen and Louw just don’t seem to be able to link up play which has severely hampered the South African attack. I reckon an enterprising last quarter, sparked by replacement Warren Whiteley, will see the ‘Boks past the -9.5 margin.

Written by 
Darry Worthington
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