International Rugby: Ireland v South Africa Preview



Ireland host South Africa as both sides kick off their Autumn International Series at a sold-out Aviva Stadium in Dublin.


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Ireland v South Africa | Saturday 11th November | Aviva Stadium, Dublin | 19:30 | Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)

To Win (80 mins)
Ireland 5/10 | Draw 22/1 | South Africa 14/10
Handicap
Ireland (-4.5) 9/10 | South Africa (+4.5) 9/10

The Irish are dubbed invincible in Dublin, their fans are licking their lips at a chance of watching South Africa lose.

New Zealand-born coach, Joe Schmidt will use this opportunity to show just how far Ireland have come over the last few years before facing off against Fiji and Argentina.

Ireland
Their current injury concerns are in the back row, as Leinster's Jack Conan broke a bone in his foot, flanker Dan Leavy is also out due to a hamstring injury, and Munster's Tommy O'Donnell needs to undergo scans for his shoulder injury. But British and Irish Lions triple threat combo of Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien, and Western Cape born CJ Stander can still provide disruption at the breakdown for the Irish.

Saturday's hosts have had a good run over the Northern Hemisphere's summer, winning five of their last six matches, with the most notable wins against England and France during the Six Nations.

In the backline we could see Robbie Henshaw and the uncapped Bundee Aki as the centre pairing. The New Zealand born Aki is an absolute powerhouse weighing in at 92kg and 1.82m, while Henshaw provides the blitz, creativity, and clean breaks that is expected of modern centres.

The nine and ten duo of Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton is where the Irish can win this match. If their forwards give them clean ball to work with, the South African defence may be in for a very long evening under the lights in Dublin.

South Africa
The South Africans have turned a corner from the mixed Rugby Championship results of two losses, two draws and two wins. The Springboks bounced back from a 57 - 0 loss to New Zealand in Albany with a 25 - 24 loss at Newlands after their forwards bullied the New Zealanders throughout the affair.

The loss of Jean-Luc du Preez (fractured ankle) and Jaco Kriel (shoulder) will see the inclusion of Francois Louw and Peter-Steph du Toit. Malcolm Marx, Wilco Louw and Beast Mtawarira are the best front three combination the Boks currently have. Captain Eben Etzebeth was in doubt for the tour but fortunately, his injury woes were laid to rest and the formidable lock is cleared to play.
Loose forward, Siya Kolisi will start and add some grunt in the back row, his ability to join the backline set pieces is vital to the attack.

The backlines' biggest loss is Jan Serfontein who will miss the tour and expected to replace him is Damian de Allende or uncapped Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am. Handre Pollard will start on the bench behind Elton Jantjies who's been a regular starter throughout the Rugby Championship.

Verdict: Ireland (-4.5) 9/10
Ireland will match the Springboks at the scrums and at the front row - but will expose the South African backline. Players like Conor Murray, Jonny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, and Jaco Stockdale will prove too much for the South African backs. Take the Irish on the minus.

The Teams

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 James Ryan, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Darren Sweetnam

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6, Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Francois Venter

Head to Heads 
  • 2016 South Africa 19-13 Ireland
  • 2016 South Africa 32–26 Ireland 
  • 2016 South Africa 20-26 Ireland
  • 2014  Ireland 29-15 South Africa 
  • 2012  Ireland 12-16 South Africa 
  • 2010  Ireland 21-23 South Africa 
  • 2009  Ireland 15-10 South Africa 
  • 2006  Ireland 32-15 South Africa 
  • 2004: Ireland 17-12 South Africa 
  • 2000: Ireland 28-28 South Africa 
  • 1998: Ireland 13-27 South Africa 

Writtern by Lungelo Mdladla for Hollywoodbets

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