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Baloucoune And Conor Murray Start In A Classy Ireland Side To Face South Africa

Baloucoune And Conor Murray Start In A Classy Ireland Side To Face South Africa
By Colman Stanley
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There is little surprise in Andy Farrell's Ireland 23 to take on South Africa at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (K.O. 5.30 p.m.).

Even the most ignorant Irish supporter could have predicted most of the side, given yesterday's Ireland A announcement, which answered most questionable calls.

We also knew Farrell would opt for his strongest XV, and this line-up has been well-known for quite some time.

The only change to the regular first-choice XV, which hasn't been injury enforced, is the selection of Conor Murray at scrum-half. A calculated choice from Farrell, as Jamison Gibson Park has yet to feature for Leinster this season.

Hugo Keenan is in a similar position to Gibson Park, he too has yet to play for his province this season, but the gap between himself and the next in line at 15 means he was the obvious selection.

The most exciting selection is that of Robert Baloucoune on the right-wing. The Ulsterman has pace we have not see since Denis Hickie, and after years of desperate injury luck, he now has the chance to take full advantage of Ireland's injury list on the wings, as he wins his third cap.


There were murmurs of the possibility of Garry Ringrose taking a spot on the wing - where he performed superbly in a man-of-the-match display against the Sharks this season - with Stuart McCloskey starting at 12, but thankfully 'Big Bob' has been backed.


Peter O'Mahony gets in at 6 six ahead of Jack Conan, in the only other mildly contentious selection, while Kieran Treadwell continues his upward curve with Ireland, with a place on the bench, after a superb Summer tour in New Zealand.

Ireland vs South Africa

IRELAND v South Africa:

15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 23 caps
14. Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 2 caps
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 44 caps
12.Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 60 caps
11. Mack Hansen (Connacht) 6 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 108 caps CAPTAIN
9. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 99 caps

1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 46 caps
2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 10 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 60 caps
4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 33 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 46 caps
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 87 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 43 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 20 caps



16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 28 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 118 caps
18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 25 caps
19. Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 8 caps
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 30 caps
21. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 20 caps
22. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 35 caps
23. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 6 caps.

SEE ALSO: Ireland Set For Another Jersey Colour Clash Against South Africa


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