I’m pleased to see that Joe Schmidt has continued to mix things up with ten changes to the squad that featured in the First Test. Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Tadgh Furlong, Quinn Roux and Rhys Ruddock all come into the starting XV with Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Donnacha Ryan, Sean Reidy and Tiernan O’Halloran all starting on the bench.
In contrast, South Africa have made only five changes to their match day squad and four of those are because of injury. Elton Jantjies and Pieter-Steph du Toit come into the starting line up at out half and second row respectively with Franco Mostert, Morne Steyn and Ruan Combrinck joining the bench.
After last weeks win for Ireland the game has probably moved beyond the personnel selected with this game most likely to be won by the team that get’s it right in their heads.
On one hand you have the wounded Springbok vying for redemption, not just in the eyes of their coach but in the eyes of an aggressively proud rugby nation, and on the other hand we have an over hyped Ireland who played well enough to let South Africa beat themselves.
Coetzee has clearly opted for the redemption route but Schmidt has rather cleverly, in my opinion, guarded against complacency from the Irish by introducing ten new bodies into the equation, no doubt each instructed to go out and make their own piece of history.
This will be a ferocious test for our boys and, while Ireland have the much better back line, it’s going to be up front where this one is won and lost and, with so much depending on how Ireland react to the altitude, I don’t really know what way it’s going to go!
No big loss there then as I got my prediction completely wrong last week. South Africa were considerably worse than I expected and Ireland’s defence much better. You know what, I don’t really care which way it goes this week – I’m just pleased that Schmid has continued to mix it up.
However, regular readers won’t forgive me if I don’t give a prediction to be admired and laughed at in unequal measure, so here goes:
The FRU Predicts: I’ve no where to go here after predicting a loss last week. If I predict a win and Ireland lose then I will be treated with rancour by what remains of our readership! However, a win it will be with Stuart Olding stealing the show after the forwards, on both sides, have punched themselves out!
|Willie le Roux||15||Jared Payne|
|JP Pietersen||14||Andrew Trimble|
|Lionel Mapoe||13||Robbie Henshaw|
|Damian De Allende||12||Stuart Olding|
|Lwazi Mvovo||11||Craig Gilroy|
|Elton Jantjies||10||Paddy Jackson|
|Faf de Klerk||9||Conor Murray|
|Tendai Mtawarira||1||Jack McGrath|
|Adriaan Strauss||2||Rory Best|
|Frans Malherbe||3||Tadhg Furlong|
|Eben Etzebeth||4||Devin Toner|
|Pieter-Steph du Toit||5||Quinn Roux|
|Francois Louw||6||Iain Henderson|
|Siya Kolisi||7||Rhys Ruddock|
|Duane Vermeulen||8||Jamie Heaslip|
|Bongi Mbonambi||16||Richardt Strauss|
|Trevor Nyakane||17||Dave Kilcoyne|
|Julian Redelinghuys||18||Finlay Bealham|
|Franco Mostert||19||Donnacha Ryan|
|Warren Whiteley||20||Sean Reidy|
|Rudy Paige||21||Kieran Marmion|
|Morne Steyn||22||Ian Madigan|
|Ruan Combrinck||23||Tiernan O’Halloran|