Ireland have made six changes from the starting XV against England. In a bid to keep the team fresh, the bulk of the changes involve swapping around the repalcements with Ulster’s Henderson, Jackson, Gallagher and Marshall all taking a stint on the bench.
McMinney starts at out half in place of Jackson, Annett continues his captain’s role in the middle of the front row and Gilroy moves to the wing, replacing Andrew Boyle, with Tiernan O’Halloran filling in at fullback.
Aaron Coneely gets a start at wing forward with Shane Buckley dropping out due to a one match suspension.
The teams line up as follows:
|James Tracy||1||Stephan Kotze|
|Niall Annett (C)||2||Michael Van Vuuren|
|Tadhg Furlong||3||John Roy Jenkinson|
|Michael Kearney||4||Ruan Venter|
|Daniel Qualter||5||Eben Etzebeth|
|Jordi Murphy||6||Nizaam Carr|
|Aaron Conneely||7||Cornell Du Preez|
|Eoin McKeon||8||Arno Botha (C)|
|Kieran Marmion||9||Lohan Jacobs|
|James McKinney||10||Johan Goosen|
|Craig Gilroy||11||Wandile Mjekevu|
|JJ Hanrahan||12||Francois Venter|
|Brendan Macken||13||Bradley Moolman|
|Andrew Conway||14||Courtnall Skosan|
|Tiernan O’Halloran||15||Ulrich Beyers|
|David Doyle||16||Mbongeni Mbonambi|
|Conor Carey||17||Nic Schonert|
|Iain Henderson||18||Jean Cook|
|Dominic Gallagher||19||Siya Kolisi|
|Peter Du Toit||20||Pieter Rademan|
|Paddy Jackson||21||Johnny Welthagen|
|Luke Marshall||22||Paul Jordaan|
Following Friday’s defeat to England, Ireland need to win this game with a bonus point if they are to stand a chance of qualifying for the top four play offs, and with this selection I think Ruddock has picked a team that may just surprise.
South Africa struggled in the second half of their game agaisnt Scotland and If Ireland can stay in the hunt, through the ineviatable first half blitz from the Baby Boks, they certainly have some exciting talent to bring off the bench and open things up in the second half.
Jackson and Marshall are just the players to exploit a tiring defence and I was somewhat surprised to see them taken off [comparatively] early against England, especially as it looked as though they were starting to find some space after a difficult first half.
However I expect the substitutions to be reversed for this game and the Ulster pair will sparkle having got that nervy first match out of the way. With the pacy Henderson and Gallagher to come on up front Ireland should have the wherewithal to pull away in the closing minutes of the game and I’m plumping, fairly confidently, for an Ireland win.
I just can’t see them getting that much needed bonus point though!