South Africa go into this match having already lost, so why bother?
I for one still support my country, and think that we can win this match, and I cannot wait for this team to prove all their doubters wrong. The Springboks almost never go into a game against a northern hemisphere team as the underdogs, and this team will be as pumped as a team of Sharks playing in the Currie Cup Final.
This game will be the first at the newly built Lansdowne Road, renamed the Aviva Stadium, and even though it might not be a sell out, the Irish will still be their vocal self.
The South African team might be a put together bunch of players, but take a careful look at who is actually playing. You have a tight five that, but my calculations, should be the starting five in the World Cup next year. That’s a good start in my books, because that is where a lot of the battles will be won, by the Boks!
Then you have the loose forwards, and wouldn’t you know it, two of the three most likely to start in the World Cup next year, with Juan Smith and Pierre Spies being the tried and tested players, with Stegmann the only real new player in the forwards. So seven of the eight are Springbok players who won almost every single match in 2009. Not so shabby for a team that is touted as being injury ravished and a B team.
Looking to the backline, in the halfbacks you have an in form scrumhalf that is used to playing in the northern hemisphere weather and a flyhalf that has been in amazing form for the Boks. The centres are a great talking point, but in the 12 jersey you have probably the best centre in South Africa in the position, and outside him you have a full back that has performed okay for the Boks, but is being tried in a new position, as a result of the best centres in the country being eaten alive alive by a certain Shark team.
The back three is made up of the record holding try scorer in Bryan Habana, a Currie Cup try scoring record holder in Bjorn Basson, and an amazing runner and exciting player in Gio Aplon at the back. So looking at the team, and taking all the injuries into account, this team is 14 from 15 players the best we could get together, bar a certain Stegmann that could easily have been a certain Daniel.
So sorry to ramble on, but I felt it necessary to make a point that this team will challenge the Irish, and they will do their best this afternoon, and in my mind, are a good bet for the win.
The Irish will walk out thinking the game is in the bag, and that might be their biggest downfall.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (captain), 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 David Wallace, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Mick O’Driscoll, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Tom Court, 18 Donncha Ryan, 19 Denis Leamy, 20 Peter Stringer, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Keith Earls.
South Africa: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Zane Kirchner, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 François Hougaard, 21 Adi Jacobs, 22 Patrick Lambie.
Date: Saturday, 6 November 2010
Kick-off: 17.30 (GMT 17.30)
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Expected weather: Scattered clouds with a 20 percent chance of rain, a high of 9°C and a northwester of 28 km/h. The temperature is set to drop to 2°C, -2°C with windchill.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Keith Brown (New Zealand)
TMO: Hugh Watkins (Wales)