Saturday 1 October 2016

Boks adamant they've learnt from Aviva loss

Published 08/06/2016 | 02:30

South Africa's assistant coach Johan van Graan says his side are ready for the Test series. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
South Africa's assistant coach Johan van Graan says his side are ready for the Test series. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

South Africa believe they have learned the lessons of their 2014 defeat to Joe Schmidt's Ireland in Dublin, and assistant coach Johan van Graan says his side are ready for the Test series.

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Van Graan is one of just two members of the management who survive from the Aviva Stadium loss and, although there is a new team in place, he says the Springboks will be better for the experience.

"Make no mistake, we did learn a lot in that game. And we have worked on rectifying things we did wrong in that match," he said.

"But we have a lot of respect for the Irish and their coaches, and we know that they have changed things since we last played against them. They will bring something new, and this series is a new start for us so we will bring something that is new too.

"The lineout drive was problematic in 2014 but you will recall we did adapt quite well in the second half and even scored a try.

"We have prepared for that and it will be about adapting to whatever they throw at us on Saturday, but there have been law changes since that make it more difficult (for Ireland to employ the same tactics).

"This definitely isn't about revenge for us. It is a new beginning."

Highly-rated second-row Pieter-Steph du Toit has been declared fit to face Ireland and he is likely to provide cover for Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth at Newlands.

Head coach Allister Coetzee has released four players to the South Africa 'A' side that takes on England Saxons on Friday including out-half Garth April, which means Elton Jantjes is set to be involved against Ireland.

The Lions pivot is likely to be on the bench, with Patrick Lambie favourite to start. Centre Jan Serfontein will play no part in the series after being ruled out for four months. South Africa name their team tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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