Springboks Ready for Clash Against Ireland

Read in 2.56 mintues

Rassie Erasmus names experienced squad for Ireland clash.
Three new players included: Steenekamp, Moerat, Feinberg-Mngomezulu.
Returning key players bolster the team.
Anticipated intense 80-minute battle against physical Ireland.

An Experienced Lineup

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has named a formidable squad for their opening Castle Lager Incoming Series Test against Ireland at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The lineup features 20 Rugby World Cup winners, including the entire starting 15 and five players on the replacements’ bench. This match promises to be an intense encounter between the top two ranked teams in the world.

New Faces in the Mix

While the majority of the squad has extensive World Cup experience, three players in the match-day 23 did not participate in the recent international spectacle in France. These players are Gerhard Steenekamp (prop), Salmaan Moerat (lock), and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (utility back). Their inclusion brings a fresh dynamic to the team, with Erasmus opting for a six-two bench split favoring the forwards.

Familiar Faces Return

Twelve of the starting XV for Saturday’s showdown began the 12-11 RWC final victory over New Zealand. The other three – Willie le Roux, Kwagga Smith, and Ox Nche – came off the bench in the final. Erasmus has also welcomed back several key players, including captain Siya Kolisi, Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Handre Pollard, Marco van Staden, RG Snyman, and Steenekamp, resulting in eight changes to the team that defeated Wales by 41-13 in London 10 days ago.

Confidence and Depth

Erasmus expressed confidence in the squad’s ability to face Ireland, acknowledging the depth and experience within the team. “We are blessed to have a lot of depth in our squad, and we are in a fortunate position to have several Rugby World Cup-winners in our ranks who know what it takes to perform at the highest level and play against the best teams in the world,” Erasmus said. He also highlighted the advantage of having players who have previously faced Ireland, understanding the challenge that lies ahead.

Fresh Talent’s Opportunity

Erasmus is eager to see how Steenekamp, Feinberg-Mngomezulu, and Moerat perform in this high-stakes match. He praised their previous performances and expressed confidence in their ability to contribute effectively. “Gerhard made a strong statement in the front row against Argentina in Buenos Aires last year, and we were equally pleased with how easily Sacha slotted in and the contribution he made against Wales,” Erasmus noted.

Preparing for a Battle

Erasmus anticipates a fierce physical contest from Ireland, emphasizing the importance of a full 80-minute effort. He acknowledged Ireland’s recent successes against the Springboks and stressed the need for a resolute performance. “Ireland are a quality outfit and they’ll come out guns blazing. This is a new year for us with new systems in place, so while it certainly helps that most of the players have won a World Cup or two, this is a fresh chapter for us,” he said.

The Squad Breakdown

The Springbok team to face Ireland includes:

  • Backline: Willie le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Handré Pollard, Faf de Klerk.
  • Forwards: Kwagga Smith, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche.
  • Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Gerhard Steenekamp, Vincent Koch, Salmaan Moerat, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Grant Williams, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

Historical Context

The Springboks have a solid historical record against Ireland, having played 28 matches, won 18, lost 9, and drawn 1. However, Ireland has had the upper hand in recent years, adding an extra layer of intensity to Saturday’s match.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *