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'Let's return to reality - Ireland must exercise caution'

Irish expectation soars as Andy Farrell's team sweeps all in its path, but cool heads are needed if they are to heed mistakes of the past

South Africa team to face Ireland already selected

By Jan De Koning
Faf de Klerk of South Africa looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Romania at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on September 17, 2023 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The preparations for South Africa’s crunch Pool B match against Ireland in Paris on Saturday will start in earnest on Monday.


However, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber revealed that their ‘selection views’ – on the team to face the men from the Emerald Isle – will be shared with the players before then.

Speaking after his team had put 76 unanswered points past a hapless Romania in Bordeaux on Sunday, the Bok coach said that they will now turn their attention to how to beat the world’s top-ranked team.

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WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains to @king365ed why they have already made up their mind about the team to face Ireland
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WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains to @king365ed why they have already made up their mind about the team to face Ireland

“From a selection point of view, we’re open and honest with the players,” he told @rugby365com.

“They know where our heads are at and how we look at things.

“We’ll share that with them even tonight [Sunday] – what we are thinking,” he said after the emphatic win in Bordeaux. “We certainly have an idea in our minds what we want to do for the next game.”

Nienaber added that there is ‘good internal competition’ within the Bok group.

“It is a very positive competition,” he added.

Nienaber used hooker Bongi Mbonambi as an example of how senior players help others in their position, despite the intense competition for starting places.


“There is nice competition and there is not a big gap between the players.”

He said those players ‘unlucky’ not to make the matchday squad will have the vital role of helping the matchday squad prepare.

Siya Kolisi
The return of the talismanic Siya Kolisi has given the Springboks a huge lift ahead of the World Cup (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

“They will play the role of being ‘Ireland’ [in opposed training sessions] to ensure we get the right picture and are well prepared for Ireland.”

One name that is unlikely to be in the starting XV is recalled flyhalf Handre Pollard.

On Sunday he was called into the squad to fill the vacancy created by hooker Malcolm Marx – who was ruled out of the World Cup in France earlier this week due to a knee injury.


However, the coaching staff would most likely afford him the ability to ease himself back into the Bok system.

They may consider playing him off the bench, but Manie Libbok will wear the No.10 jersey.


Speaking about the match against Ireland and potential quarterfinal opponents, he said: “It will be a big game in terms of who finishes one and two in the pool, but there are still games to play after this match.

“I don’t want to get too far ahead.

“If it’s Italy, if it’s France or New Zealand, it’s going to be a tough quarterfinal, it doesn’t matter who we play.”


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