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 replacements with Ulster’s Henderson, Jackson, Gallagher and Marshall all taking a stint on the bench.

James McKinney starts at out half in place of Jackson, Niall Annett continues his captain’s role in the middle of the front row and Craig Gilroy moves to the wing, replacing Andrew Boyle, with Tiernan O’Halloran filling in at fullback.

Aaron Conneely gets a start at wing forward with Shane Buckley dropping out due to a one match suspension.

The teams line up as follows:

Ireland U20  South Africa U20
James Tracy1Stephan Kotze
Niall Annett (C)2Michael Van Vuuren
Tadhg Furlong3John Roy Jenkinson
Michael Kearney4Ruan Venter
Daniel Qualter5Eben Etzebeth
Jordi Murphy6Nizaam Carr
Aaron Conneely7Cornell Du Preez
Eoin McKeon8Arno Botha (C)
Kieran Marmion9Lohan Jacobs
James McKinney10Johan Goosen
Craig Gilroy11Wandile Mjekevu
JJ Hanrahan12Francois Venter
Brendan Macken13Bradley Moolman
Andrew Conway14Courtnall Skosan
Tiernan O’Halloran15Ulrich Beyers
David Doyle16Mbongeni Mbonambi
Conor Carey17Nic Schonert
Iain Henderson18Jean Cook
Dominic Gallagher19Siya Kolisi
Peter Du Toit20Pieter Rademan
Paddy Jackson21Johnny Welthagen
Luke Marshall22Paul 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 against Scotland and If Ireland can stay in the hunt, through the inevitable 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!


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1 Comment

  1. The Irish backs made it easy for the English defence playing a flat line attack on a slow serice the only time the English looked vulnerable was Gilroys dash down the middle. The Irish centres got swallowed up ball and all and while the Irish wings looked dangerous (ie pacy) they never got the ball.

    With a player called Nizaam Carr SA must be sponsored by Honda .

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