Baby steps to greatness

Assistant coach Niall Donovan has stated that the hosts go into Saturday’s Test with plenty riding on the future of Irish rugby.

Responsible for the pack and set pieces, Donovan highlighted that while the Ireland scrum may be at a slight disadvantage, a victory against the Springboks should see the dawning of a new age in which emerald is the most prominent shade of green in the game.

“Yes, we won two years ago here but when you examine the overall record, two wins in a lifetime isn’t spectacular,” he told the Irish Independent.

“We know that the World Cup is coming closer and we need to be beating the likes of the South Africas and the Australias on a more regular basis. Games like this are a stepping stone in our development.”

Springbok coach Jake White has once again opted for size in the forwards, and while Donovan admitted this would be a factor, the speed in executing the respective attacking and defensive manouevres should ultimately determine the result.

“They’re a very big pack so it’s clearly going to be a physical contest. We do so much analysis of line-outs that we’d know as much about South Africa as they do and vice versa. It’s a matter of doing things faster.

“South Africa have had a conveyor belt of good scrummagers and it is going to be a huge challenge but we’re always improving.”

PAST RESULTS IN DUBLIN

2004: IRELAND WON 17-12
2000: BOKS WON 28-18
1998: BOKS WON 27-13
1970: DRAW 8-8
1965: IRELAND WON 9-6
1960: BOKS WON 8-3
1951: BOKS WON 17-5
1931: BOKS WON 8-3
1912: BOKS WON 38-0