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Ireland Dealt Cruel Injury Blow Ahead Of Third South Africa Test

Ireland Dealt Cruel Injury Blow Ahead Of Third South Africa Test
By John Balfe

Ireland's hopes of winning their first ever test series on South African soil have been dealt a massive blow with the news that Jared Payne, who has performed so well at fullback in the first two matches, looks set to be ruled out of Saturday's test after sitting out training at Port Elizabeth yesterday.

Payne didn't finish the second test last weekend, with the Irish coaching staff saying that he was suffering from "cramp". Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran replaced Payne in the final minutes and he will be the most likely canditate called upon by Joe Schmidt to replace the Ulsterman , though Keith Earls, Ian Madigan and Stuart Olding can also deputise at fullback.

Payne will join Robbie Henshaw on the sidelines, after the new Leinster recruit was sidelined with knee trouble which will require surgery. This represents a selection headache for Joe Schmidt, as Payne was most likely going to fill in at outside centre in Henshaw's absence. This could open a slot for Earls at centre if he's not selected at fullback.

Luke Marshall, so impressive in the first test, will likely earn a recall.

Elsewhere, CJ Stander will return to the side with Iain Henderson likely to resume his lock partnership with Devin Toner.

Mike Ross will return for Tadgh Furlong in the front row, while Ultan Dillane will return to the bench in his ultra-impressive impact player role.


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