Ireland make one change for South Africa showdown on Saturday, with scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park back to partner captain Johnny Sexton
- Jamison Gibson-Park is Ireland’s only change ahead of South Africa in Paris
- The scrum-half replaces Conor Murray, who drops to the bench for the clash
- Dan Sheehan could return from a foot injury after being named as a replacement
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
Andy Farrell is banking on Ireland’s guile and speed to defuse the Springbok Bomb Squad, with the Ireland coach once again trusting in his key lieutenants ahead of Saturday’s World Cup blockbuster in Paris.
Farrell has made just one change from the team that started against Tonga last weekend, with Jamison Gibson-Park replacing Conor Murray at scrum half.
One notable decision sees Farrell ignore the claims of towering Leinster lock Joe McCarthy, who has made a major impression on the Irish camp, and instead kept faith with his established second-row pairing of Tadhg Beirne and James Ryan.
The decision to play Ryan at lock rather than in the back row sees Peter O’Mahony keep his place.
One boost for Farrell is the return of hooker Dan Sheehan to the bench for his first World Cup involvement.
Scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park has been recalled in the only change to Ireland’s starting XV
Conor Murray drops to Ireland’s bench for the crunch showdown with South Africa in Paris
He injured a ligament in his foot in the warm-up win over England, but is fit enough to take his place among the 23, while Ronan Kelleher starts in the No2 shirt.
Eleven of the 15 will be starting their third match at the tournament, including pivotal out-half Johnny Sexton.
This is part of Farrell’s high-risk strategy of entrusting Ireland’s fate to his proven players.
It paid off against minnows Romania and Tonga, but it will face the most searching test in world rugby at the Stade de France.
Hooker Dan Sheehan is named among the replacements as he returns from a foot injury
IRELAND TEAM TO FACE SOUTH AFRICA ON SATURDAY
Ireland team: Hugo Keenan (Leinster); Mack Hansen (Connacht), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Bundee Aki (Connacht), James Lowe (Leinster); Johnny Sexton (Leinster, capt), Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster); Andrew Porter (Leinster), Ronan Kelleher (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Tadhg Beirne (Munster), James Ryan (Leinster), Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Josh Van der Flier (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster).
Replacements: Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Ryan Baird (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jack Crowley (Munster), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster).
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