Irish claim underdog tag

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan does not believe his side are favourites to beat the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday.

The Irish shocked the Boks 17-12 two years ago – their first victory against South Africa since 1965 – but O’Sullivan is not reading too much into that result.

“I think we can get a bit carried away,” he said. “South Africa won their last two Tests against New Zealand and Australia and it looks as if they will pick an enormous and physical side.

“All their back five are above 6ft 4in and they have also some very exciting young backs to throw into the mix.

“We cannot forget that we are playing against South Africa and our record is not exactly great against them. That win in 2004 was the first in nearly 40 years. So that’s what we are up against.”

O’Sullivan’s comments come as no surprise. Like the Boks, Ireland thrive on being the underdogs and often deliver their best performances when they’ve been written off.

In 2004, they had a point to prove following Jake White’s disrespectful pre-match banter, but the Bok coach has been far more careful this time around.

Now Irish fans are expecting, and not hoping, for a win. How the home side handles that pressure will determine who leaves Lansdowne Road with smiles on their faces.