We continue our previews of the upcoming Summer Tours by taking a look at Ireland’s match against South Africa in Cape Town. We also look back at an unsavoury clash back in 1998, when a Keith Wood punch in the first Test set the tone for a fiery second.
The two sides are both going through challenging periods, and although Ireland have had the better of the Springboks in recent times, they have never beaten them in their own backyard.
If Ireland are to break their Springbok curse, they’re going to have to do it the hard way with talismanic fly half Jonathan Sexton out injured for the series, replaced for the First Test by Paddy Jackson. Sexton, who has been so pivotal to Irish and Lions success in recent years, is one of several key players missing for Joe Schmidt’s men.
Elsewhere, Jared Payne – who has been a virtual ever-present at outside centre for the past few seasons – starts at full back in place of the injured Rob Kearney and Simon Zebo, with Luke Marshall partnering Robbie Henshaw in the centres.
The Springboks are going through a transitionary period themselves, and have a new coach at the helm in Allister Coetzee. The starting XV contains one new cap in scrum half Faf de Klerk, with five others set to make their debuts off the bench.
Lionel Mapoe has been rewarded for his Super Rugby form by being handed a start at outside centre, with Jesse Kriel dropping to the bench.
Elton Jantjies, another who has starred for the Lions in Super Rugby, passed a late fitness test so has to make do with a place among the replacements, as Pat Lambie dons the number 10 jersey.
South Africa and Ireland have played each other 22 times since 1906, with the Springboks winning 16 Tests, losing five with one draw. Of their recent encounters, Ireland have won four of the last six between the two sides, including the most recent 29-15 during the 2014 Autumn Series.
However, the Springboks have won all seven matches that have taken place in South Africa, and although there won’t be a better time for a team to come up against the ‘Boks, it will take a mighty effort for an Irish side shorn of so many players.
Kickoff: 5pm local (4pm GMT), Saturday 11 June
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Jesse Kriel
Ireland: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Craig Gilroy
Here’s a reminder of how feisty encounters between the two sides can be, with a look back at the 2nd Test in 1998, when tempers flared and there were multiple off the ball incidents
credit: Ruddy Darter