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Joe Schmidt Makes Five Changes To History Chasing Ireland XV

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 13: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland looks on prior to kickoff during the RBS Six Nations match between France and Ireland at the Stade de France on February 13, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Having come into this tour with a number of key players unavailable, many pundits, fans and bystanders alike had written off Ireland’s prospects of claiming an historic first ever test series victory in the African continent.

Boy how we were wrong.

Without the services of the likes of Peter O’ Mahoney, Sean O’Brien, the Kearney brothers, Tommy O’ Donnell or Jonny Sexton our chances seemed bleak to say the very least.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18: Eben Etsebeth of the Springboks and Iain Henderson of Ireland during the 2nd Castle Lager Incoming Series Test match between South Africa and Ireland at Emirates Airline Park on June 18, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

However the touring party that have traveled with a strong component from each of the four provinces being represented, something of which has not happened in quite some time, have not only restored the degree of credibility which had gone somewhat array following a poor 6 Nations campaign and a no-show from the provinces within the latter stages of the Europe’s premier cup competition, they have also exemplified the type of pride, passion and self-belief that inspires a nation.

Ahead of this weekends do-or-die clash Schmidt has made five personnel changes to his staring XV with one positional swap.

With his one game suspension being served CJ Stander comes back into the side in the back-row and is sure to be monumental in this weekend’s titanic clash as he will be joined by Leinster duo Jordi Murphy and Jamie Heaslip.

Ireland Tour to South Africa 2016 Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa 23/6/2016 CJ Stander Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ulster full-back Jared Payne has been ruled out of the third test with injury which will come as a blow to Schmidt’s sides prospects as he has been a stable in defence. His exclusion see’s Connacht’s Tiernan O’ Halloran drafted into the first team while provincial teammate Matt Healy has been named on the bench alongside Eoin Reddan who has of today officially announced that he is to retire following Saturday afternoons clash.

Ulsterman Rory Best will captain the side for the twelfth time and will be rejoined at the bow of the scrum by Mike Ross and Jack McGrath who will make his third start of the series.

The final change sees Luke Marshall’s reintroduction into the starting side due to Robbie Henshaw’s injury as he switches  outside centre while Olding maintains the number 12 jersey.

Here is a full list of Saturday’s squad as the men in green look to create history:

15. Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht)
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
13. Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
12. Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)

11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
10. Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt)
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
6. CJ Stander (Munster)
7. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)

Replacements:

16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
17. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
19. Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht)
20. Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
21. Eoin Reddan (Old Crescent/Leinster)
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
23. Matt Healy (Connacht)

 

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.