Preview: Ireland vs Springboks – 6 Nov 2010

Ahh the end of year tour up north. Feel it, it is cold.

This year Pieter De Villiers is taking a largely inexperienced team on tour although mostly because of players being out injured. This forced break from the game will do the injured players the world of good as they get a proper rest before an action packed adventure of rugby next year.

The team chosen for this weeks game against Ireland although filled with promise and potential have had very limited time to train together and the blame for that must lie with the administrators. Poor planning once again!

The forwards actually look reasonably good with Bakkies and Matfield back together and together with the Beast and the Du Plessis brothers will be looking to get the better of the Irish forwards both at the line outs and at scrum time. Deon Stegmann has had a sublime year for the Bulls and his fetching abilities coupled with Smith’s hard running and tackling will give the Boks parity at the breakdown. Spies has struggled this year and will be looking to prove that he can actually dominate on the softer, slower fields.

It is the back selections that will worry most Bok fans. Why Zane Kirchner was chosen to replace Juan De Jongh is a question only the selectors can answer. Yes he has great hair but has he ever played centre, ever?

Waylon Murray, Meyer Bosman, Doppies Le Grange and Stefan Terblanche would all have been better options. Exactly why they are breaking up the half back pairing is another mystery. Francois Hougaard was one of the few shining lights in the Tri-Nations this year and is surely a better option than Ruan Pienaar, although he now does have a bit of experience playing in the terrible local Irish conditions.

Gio Aplon, Bryan Habana and Bjorn Basson between them must be  the fastest back three in world rugby but none of them are prolific kickers of the ball, which is a bit unsettling. If either gets any space the Irish could well be chasing shadows but will the conditions allow for a running game and more importantly, will Kirchner be able to provide quality ball? Young whipper snapper Pat Lambie may still start in his debut Test at 12, if Jean De Villiers does not pass a late fitness test and well done to him. He showed in the Currie Cup final he has the maverick flair, let’s hope he can make the step up.

The Irish are a settled and experienced team, so experienced (old) in fact that many players are expected to retire after the World Cup next year. Brian O’Drisoll and Gordan D’Arcy are always keen to get stuck into the Bokke and the settled backs must fancy their chances against PdV’s makeshift side.

Look out for young Johnny Sexton testing the back three with kicks aplenty and Jamie Heaslip, David Wallace, Donncha O’Callaghan and Stephen Ferris looking to get stuck into the physical side of what may well be an ill-tempered night.

Let’s be honest the Bokke are not favourites to win this and many have already written them off. They do tend to play better as underdogs though, which may lead to a few surprises. Expect cold and damp conditions, big hits and a rugby arm wrestle that could well be decided by the team that keeps its discipline.

Venue: Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin

Referee: Nigel Owens

Kick off: 7:30pm

Prediction: Bokke to sneak it

Currently injured and not available for selection:

Jaque Fourie, Schalk Burger, John Smit, Fourie Du Preez, Juan De Jongh, Heinrich Brussouw, Danie Rossouw, Wynand Olivier, Butch James, Gurthro Steenkamp, Andries Bekker and JP Pietersen.

~ by bowlphilosophy on November 5, 2010.

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