Ireland take on South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday and if the betting is anything to go by we should be in for a close game.
Ireland came from behind to beat New Zealand 2-1 in their 3 Test Series in New Zealand in mid-year. They previously finished 2nd to France in the Six Nations where they won all of their home games. In last year’s Autumn International they beat the All Blacks 29-20 in Dublin.
15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Robert Baloucoune, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Conor Murray, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Stuart McCloskey
The Boks paid the price for some below par performances in the Rugby Championship finishing 2nd to New Zealand, but had previously edged Wales 2-1 in a home series in South Africa. In last season’s Autumn International the Boks opened with wins over Wales and Scotland before losing by a point to England. These sides haven’t met since November 2017 when Ireland hammered the Boks 38-3 at the Stadium. It was their second successive home victory over the Springboks.
SOUTH AFRICA TEAM
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Deon Fourie, 21 Albertus Smith, 22 Francois de Klerk, 23 Willie le Roux
BETTING – Click here to bet
South Africa 7/4
Handicap: Ireland -4.5
Suggested Bet: Winning Margin, Ireland under 12.5 points at 17/10
This should be as close a game as the betting suggests, but I do feel that at home Ireland are going to have an edge over the Boks. The Boks will potentially dominate up front, but I think there are question marks of the creativity of this backline particularly in midfield and I think that Ireland are going to be able to stretch the Boks by holding possession for long periods before striking with enough points to win the match.
When the odds are out I will be looking to have a bet on Mack Hansen to score the first try.
Note: All prices correct at the time of writing but are subject to change