Farrell picks a strong Irish team


Andy Farrell has selected a strong Ireland team to tame the Springboks in Saint-Denis.

Johnny Sexton will pull the strings in the backline, with Bundee Aki playing his 50th Test for the Irish.

There are a total of 11 Leinster players in the starting squad, while Connacht and Munster are also at least represented.

Play at the breakdown points can be decisive and Caelan Doris along with Josh van der Flier and Peter O’Mahony will try to make things difficult for the Boks.

Ireland split on a 5/3 substitute division with Conor Murray, Jack Crowley and Robbie Henshaw who will later stand in for their man in the back line.

The 34-year-old Murray said just this week that he is excited to play against the defending world champion.

“We are currently playing good rugby, but there are things we need to work on. The biggest tests of the tournament still await us, but we are ready for action. When you play against South Africa, you must not back down. It’s not every day that you play against the defending champion in a World Cup tournament.”

Murray knows what Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus are capable of. After all, he played 177 games for Munster and he was part of the set-up when the South Africans took the club’s coaching reins.

“There is a touch of familiarity because I have been coached by them, but they can always pull a rabbit out of the hat. We will have to be ready for anything; the Springboks are actually a very difficult team to play against.”

Ireland: Hugo Keenan (full back), Mack Hansen (right wing), Garry Ringrose (outside centre), Bundee Aki (inside centre), James Lowe (left wing), Johnny Sexton (fly-half), Jamison Gibson-Park (scrum-half), Caelan Doris (eighth man), Josh van der Flier (flank), Peter O’Mahony (flank), James Ryan (lock), Tadhg Beirne (lock), Tadhg Furlong (prop), Ronan Kelleher (hooker) and Andrew Porter (prop). Subs: Dan Sheehan, David Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley and Robbie Henshaw.