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.
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.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) June 23, 2016
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.
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)
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)