Friday 24 March 2017

Stander returns

CJ Stander of Ireland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
CJ Stander of Ireland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

CJ Stander is set to return to the Ireland starting XV for Saturday's Test series decider against South Africa as Joe Schmidt sweats on Jared Payne's availability.

The head coach is hoping that yesterday's rest day was enough to see Payne recover sufficiently to start against the Springboks.

The construction of Schmidt's backline depends on Payne's fitness, with Tiernan O'Halloran ready to step in at full-back if he doesn't make it.

O'Halloran could also start if Payne is switched to outside centre in Robbie Henshaw's absence.

If Payne doesn't make it, Luke Marshall could be paired with Stuart Olding, although Schmidt may also bring Keith Earls back into the centre.

Mike Ross is expected to be restored to the front-row, while Stander's return should see Iain Henderson revert to the second-row. Jordi Murphy could also feature.

South Africa have called prop Coenie Oosthuizen up after losing Trevor Nyaykane.

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