Rugby World Cup: South Africa vs Ireland lineups – Full strength for both teams in pool-defining clash

Rugby World Cup: South Africa vs Ireland lineups – Full strength for both teams in pool-defining clash
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South Africa take on Ireland this weekend, in what is quite possibly the most highly anticipated pool match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. It’s defending champions vs the top of the world rankings, in a clash that will likely determine who tops Pool B. We look at the South Africa vs Ireland lineups, breaking down who might star in this match ahead of kick off on Saturday.

South Africa vs Ireland lineups and news

Both teams have been in red-hot form so far this tournament, with South Africa dispatching Scotland and Romania, while Ireland have racked up two big scores over Romania and Tonga. This weekend will be the big test, however, and here’s how the South Africa vs Ireland World Cup lineups are looking ahead of this match:

Team news: South Africa

With South Africa having played Romania most recently, their playing 23 changes significantly heading into this clash. A full strength team is put forward, with Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi in the front row. Manie Libbok retains his starting spot at No 19, with Pollard not moving into the team just yet after his call up to join the squad. 

South Africa lineup

15 – Damian Willemse, 14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 – Jesse Kriel, 12 – Damian de Allende, 11 – Cheslin Kolbe, 10 – Manie Libbok, 9 – Faf de Klerk, 8 – Jasper Wiese, 7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 – Siya Kolisi (c), 5 – Franco Mostert, 4 – Eben Etzebeth, 3 – Frans Malherbe, 2 – Bongi Mbonambi, 1 – Steven Kitshoff

Bench: 16 – Deon Fourie, 17 – Ox Nche, 18 – Trevor Nyakane, 19 – Jean Kleyn, 20 – RG Snyman, 21 – Marco van Staden, 22 – Kwagga Smith, 23 – Cobus Reinach

Team news: Ireland

Ireland have adopted a fascinating tactic this Rugby World Cup of playing their best team, regardless of who the opposition are. That means that despite having played Tonga last week, Ireland make only one change to their starting team this weekend, with Jamison Gibson-Park returning to the 15, pushing Conor Murray to the bench.

Ireland lineup

15 – Hugo Keenan, 14 – Mack Hansen, 13 – Garry Ringrose, 12 – Bundee Aki, 11 – James Lowe, 10 – Johnny Sexton (c), 9 – Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 – Caelan Doris, 7 – Josh van der Flier, 6 – Peter O’Mahony, 5 – James Ryan, 4 – Tadhg Beirne, 3 – Tadhg Furlong, 2 – Ronan Kelleher, 1 – Andrew Porter

Bench: 16 – Dan Sheehan, 17 – David Kilcoyne, 18 – Finlay Bealham, 19 – Iain Henderson, 20 – Ryan Baird, 21 – Conor Murray, 22 – Jack Crowley, 23 – Robbie Henshaw

Will Malcom Marx play today?

The biggest setback of South Africa’s Rugby World Cup so far has been the loss of impact hooker Malcom Marx to injury. The veteran has played a key role in the Springboks “bomb squad”, coming on in the second half of Test matches and providing a lethal attacking option at the back of mauls, as well as a constant jackal threat around the breakdown area. Rather than bring in a replacement hooker, South Africa are relying on part-time hooker and loose forward Deon Fourie to come off the bench and get the job done.

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