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21st Sep 2023

Andy Farrell backs his big hitters in Ireland team for South Africa

Patrick McCarry


The Ireland head coach has brought out the big guns for this crucial clash.

Andy Farrell is sticking with several frontliners after his Ireland team to face South Africa was announced, asking them to dig deep for the third weekend in a row.


15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) (33 caps)
14. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) (18)
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) (54)
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) (49)
11. James Lowe (Leinster) (23)
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) (115)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) (27)

1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) (56)
2. Ronan Kelleher (Leinster/Lansdowne) (23)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) (69)
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) (43)
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) (57)
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) (98)
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) (54)
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) (33)

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, David Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Robbie Henshaw

Having set an Irish record for a World Cup winning margin, against Romania, and defeated Tonga 59-16, Farrell’s men will face a much stiffer test against reigning world champions, South Africa. His match-day 23 is named at 3pm (Irish time) on Thursday.

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John Fogarty on challenge facing this Ireland team

Ahead of the game, this Saturday, assistant coach John Fogarty spoke about the challenges that await this Ireland team against the Springboks. He also spoke about the internal selection debates that will be raging on.

“We’re clear in our heads as a [coaching] group,” he told reporters. “We’ve no problem having difficult conversations.

“We’re so lucky we’ve got such a good group of players – that’s something that Andy [Farrell, head coach] has developed. When he first came in, he was adamant we needed to develop a big squad, be competitive across the pitch.

“It’s not easy to pick a side, we’ve got options. But that sharpens us as a coaching group and the players are going to be ready.”

On the Springboks going with a 7:1 bench split [forwards to backs], John Fogarty said, “As a group of forwards, we’re incredibly fit and powerful, we’ve prepared for the weekend. It’s going to be a battle, one we feel the players will be ready for.”


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