South Africa vs Ireland prediction and odds: Rugby World Cup 2023

And just like that, the third weekend of the Rugby World Cup 2023 is here already. With most teams having played half their matches by now, we’re starting to get an idea of how this tournament is shaping up. This weekend, however, will give us an even better idea, as two of the competition’s form teams go head to head, with the Springboks taking on Ireland. Read on for our South Africa vs Ireland predictions.

South Africa vs Ireland prediction and odds
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South Africa vs Ireland – match predictions

In a match that will in all likelihood determine who tops Pool B, there’s plenty to play for here. Read on for our top predictions ahead of the South Africa vs Ireland this weekend:

Prediction 1: Bongi Mbonambi to score for South Africa against Ireland @ 5/2 (3.50)

It’s the toughest match of the weekend to call, with the bookies having Ireland vs South Africa a virtual dead heat in the outright betting odds. However, one thing we know for sure–this will be a physical battle, with the Springboks leaning on their set piece weapons and big forwards in an attempt to out-muscle Ireland. Whether or not it gets them the result is another question, but we say at some stage in the mix, Bongi Mbonambi will be crossing for a try.

Mbonambi is likely to play some big minutes, given the injury to Malcolm Marx meaning their depth at hooker is severely limited. Add in the fact that the Tongans showed some of Ireland’s vulnerabilities around the breakdown, and there’s a very good chance the stocky hooker will be able to grab a meat pie in this match.

Prediction 2: Either team to win both halves @ 11/8 (2.37)

That’s right, we’re avoiding calling a winner here. When a match is a virtual coin toss, there’s no need to take the risk. Instead, backing one team to win both halves is a great bet that still returns 11/8 (2.37), and it’s supported by sound logic. One side is going to win either the physical battle, or the tactical battle. That will become apparent quickly in this match, and whichever side that is, will likely take a lead into both half time, and full time.

South Africa vs Ireland preview: Can Ireland avoid sudden death against Scotland?

Heading into this match, here’s a look at how both teams’ tournaments have gone so far at the Rugby World Cup 2023:

South Africa

The Springboks have had a near flawless Rugby World Cup so far, passing an early test against Scotland in their opening match. South Africa dispatched the Scots 18-3 in what was a tightly fought contest, before they cut loose against Romania in their most recent match, piling 76 unanswered points on their tier two opposition. Perhaps the biggest setback so far has been the loss of Malcolm Marx, their impactful hooker.


It’s been an equally impressive start to the tournament for Ireland, who have run in a combined 141 points across their opening two fixtures. The men in green began with an 82-8 walloping of Romania, before following up with a 59-16 clinic against Tonga. Admittedly, Ireland are yet to be tested, and while it’s easy to look like a well oiled machine against the likes of Romania and Tonga, this weekend will show where they’re really at as a team.

South Africa vs Ireland head to head

South Africa lead the head to head overall between these two sides, having won 18 of their 27 matches, with one draw. However, the Irish are well on their way to turning this head to head around, winning seven of the past 11 matches, including last November by 19-16.

South Africa vs Ireland match details

  • Date and time: Saturday 23 September, 8:00 PM GMT
  • Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France
  • How to watch: ITV, ITVX or SC4 in the UK

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