Ireland and South Africa meet in Rugby World Cup showdown

Sep 22, 2023 17:46 By Dave Hooper
Ireland and South Africa meet in Rugby World Cup showdown
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World top two meet in World cup showdown

The two top sides in the world go head-to-head in a Rugby World Cup match for the first time.

Remarkably, this is the first Ireland versus South Africa game to take place at a Rugby World Cup. Even though the sides first met in 1906.

Eleven players who started Ireland’s 19-16 win over South Africa in Dublin last November, start at Stade de France. While Bundee Aki wins his 50th cap, following excellence against Tonga.


Whereas, Peter O’Mahony, wins his century of test caps following his 98 Ireland caps and one for the Lions.

“It’s great” explained Mack Hansen.  “It’s kind of what we’ve been working towards for the last three years I’ve been here, and four for some of the lads”.

“We are super exited for it. It’s a big step up from the previous games we have had but it’s everything we’ve been working for this whole time.”


Meanwhile, Springboks’ head coach Jacques Nienaber has made 13 changes of personnel and one positional switch from the team that beat Romania 76-0 on Sunday.

Hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi is the only player to wear the same jersey. While Damian Willemse reverts to full-back with Manie Libbok playing fly-half.

The game itself between the World’s top two will see many big one-v-one’s throughout. However Eben Etzebeth v Tadhg Beirne, maybe the crucial one.


The second row clash, will be a barnstormer of the game. Also look out for Willemse v Keenan; Kriel and de Allende v Ringrose and Aki; de Klerk v Gibson-Park; Kitshoff v Furlong.

The slimmest of margins, just 0.15 points separate the two unbeaten sides heading into this Stade de France encounter.

The winner here will certainly book a place in the quarter-finals.


South Africa v Ireland

South Africa: Damian Willemse; Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe; Manie Libbok, Faf de Klerk; Steven Kitshoff, Mbongeni Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe; Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert; Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Jasper Wiese

Replacements: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Jean Kleyn, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Cobus Reinach


Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong; Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan; Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Robbie Henshaw

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand).

Stade de France

Kick-Off: 9pm local time (8pm Irish)

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