Debutants set for Dublin showdown

The Springbok team that runs out at Landsdowne Road will see 11 changes to the one that beat the Wallabies at Ellis Park in the Vodacom Tri-Nations.

Only Jean de Villiers (centre), Andre Pretorius (flyhalf), Pierre Spies (No 8 ) and John Smit (hooker and captain) have survived from the team that won 24-16 in Johannesburg, with many of the first choice players like Victor Matfield being left at home.

Rookies Jaco Pretorius and Francois Steyn will both play their first games on the wing, despite having played outside centre and flyhalf/fullback in the Currie Cup. Bevin Fortuin completes the trio of debutants, but will make his first start in the familiar position of fullback.

Jake White took his best team to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2004 as the Boks sought a Grand Slam of victories against Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland. It all came unstuck in Dublin with a 17-12 home team win.

Of the Bok team that lost that day Smit is the only one left to start. Smit, since White took over as coach, has started every test match and on this tour will go past Gary Teichmann’s record as the most capped Bok captain.

White has run various combinations at training in the last four weeks, but has settled on size in an effort to bully the lighter Irish pack. White has also picked five lineout options in the hope of upsetting the settled Irish second row combination.

Danie Rossouw and Juan Smith will start at flank, and Pierre Spies will start at No 8, where he played in the Currie Cup final and also in his test debut against Australia. Spies will be confident of a better return this time around after his debut coincided with a 49-0 defeat to Australia.

The Bok management have been flattering of Bryan Habana’s potential at outside centre and he won’t get a harder test than in the form of Brian O’Driscoll, who is the best centre in the world.

Lawrence Sephaka, in and out of the test squad since 2001, will start at loose-head prop with BJ Botha named among the substitutes. White at the start of the season said he would consider Sephaka exclusively as a tighthead, but this changed with the selection of the Lions prop as a loosehead for this tour. White had requested the Lions coaching staff and the Cats coaching staff to play him as a tighthead only.

Fortuin, Rossouw and Spies were the only players involved in the Currie Cup final.

Eight of the 15 starting players were allowed to take part in this year’s Currie Cup, with the others among White’s contracted Boks who were withdrawn. The latter have not played a game since beating Australia at Ellis Park on September 9.

Ireland: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Ronan O’Gara, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 David Wallace, 6 Neil Best, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Rory Best, 1 Marcus Horan
Replacements: 16 Frankie Sheahan, 17 Bryan Young, 18 Malcolm O’Kelly, 19 Simon Easterby, 20 Isaac Boss, 21 Paddy Wallace, 22 Geordan Murphy

South Africa: 15 Bevin Fortuin, 14 Jaco Pretorius. 13 Bryan Habana, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Francois Steyn, 10 Andre Pretorius, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Danie Rossouw, 5 Albert van den Berg, 4 Johan Ackermann, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 John Smit (C), 1 Lawrence Sephaka.
Reserves: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 BJ Botha, 18 Johann Muller, 19 Jacques Cronjé, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 JP Pietersen.

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