John_s_version_1The teams for Saturdays Final Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth were announced earlier today. 

Unfortunately Jared Payne has joined Robbie Henshaw on the injury list so there are two changes to the team that won the first test with Tiernan O’Halloran coming in for Payne and Stuart Olding replacing Henshaw. The only other change to the squad is Matt Healy usurping Craig Gilroy as back three replacement,  which makes sense as O’Halloran will be more familiar with Healy’s plays. 

When I first heard about Payne’s absence my initial thoughts were somewhat despairing but having gone through the lists below and on remembering the old mantra, “forwards win matches, backs decide by how much”, I sort of picked up again, buoyed by the fact that it’s the same set of forwards that outplayed their opponents so comprehensively two weeks ago – and this time there should be eight of them! 

Yes I can imagine Ireland winning this one and winning it with something to spare. South Africa deployed their weapon of mass destruction, Ruan Combrinck, last week and his destructive running improved his team mates games by virtue of front foot ball. Ireland just need to find a way of stopping him and they need to find it pretty early in the game.

I suspect the answer lies in the hands of Luke Marshall and Andrew Trimble, in defence, and Keith Earls turning him in attack. If sucessful it will go a long way to deciding the outcome as I struggle t osee what else South Africa can offer. 

The FRU Predicts. Having got the last two predictions in the wrong order 😯 I suspect that I’ll get this one right with a narrow but historic win for Ireland as the Irish pack come out on top. 

South Africa   Ireland
Willie le Roux 15 Tiernan O’Halloran
Ruan Combrinck 14 Andrew Trimble
Lionel Mapoe 13 Luke Marshall
Damian de Allende 12 Stuart Olding
JP Pietersen 11 Keith Earls
Elton Jantjies 10 Paddy Jackson
Faf de Klerk 9 Conor Murray
Tendai Mtawarira 1 Jack McGrath
Adriaan Strauss 2 Rory Best
Frans Malherbe 3 Mike Ross
Eben Etzebeth 4 Iain Henderson
Pieter-Steph du Toit 5 Devin Toner
Francois Louw 6 CJ Stander
Siya Kolisi 7 Jordi Murphy
Warren Whiteley 8 Jamie Heaslip
     
Bongi Mbonambi 16 Sean Cronin
Steven Kitshoff 17 Finlay Bealham
Julian Redelinghuys 18 Tadhg Furlong
Franco Mostert 19 Ultan Dillane
Jaco Kriel 20 Rhys Ruddock
Rudy Paige 21 Eoin Reddan
Morne Steyn 22 Ian Madigan
Lwazi Mvovo 23 Matt Healy

#SUFTUM