Tuesday 21 November 2017

Coetzee believes South Africa are underdogs for Ireland clash in Dublin

Allister Coetzee believes South Africa will be underdogs in Dublin
Allister Coetzee believes South Africa will be underdogs in Dublin

South Africa boss Allister Coetzee has installed Ireland as favourites to win Saturday's autumn Test clash in Dublin.

The Springboks have unleashed the 'Beast' Tendai Mtawarira for the weekend's Aviva Stadium encounter.

Zimbabwe-born prop Mtawarira will start alongside Coeni Oosthuizen as head coach Coetzee has made three changes from the 25-24 loss to New Zealand.

Damien de Allende starts in the centres, while Steven Kitshoff drops to the bench with 95-cap Mtawarira back in from the off.

"Ireland beat us here in 2014 and with an experienced coaching team and world class players, they are rightfully considered as the favourites and are one of few teams in the last five years that managed to beat the All Blacks," said Coetzee.

"The Irish have a world-class half-back pair and their set-piece play is extremely good, so it will be a great battle on Saturday.

"They know how to keep the ball and use a good kicking game to put teams under pressure."

Coetzee insisted shifting the in-form Kitshoff to the replacements does not represent a demotion - merely it hands the 25-year-old the chance for a rampaging closing half hour off the bench.

"Modern-day rugby is about using 23 players effectively, and having Kitshoff coming off the bench with 30 minutes to play has worked well for us this season," said Coetzee.

"Continuity is important and we have kept changes to a minimum.

"I am really excited to see Damian (De Allende) getting an opportunity on Saturday. He has worked very hard and looked good in training."

:: South Africa team to face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday: A Coetzee (Lions), D Leyds (Stormers), J Kriel (Bulls), D De Allende (Stormers), C Skosan, E Jantjies, R Cronje (all Lions), T Mtawarira (Sharks), M Marx (Lions), C Oosthuizen (Sharks), E Etzebeth (Stormers, capt), L De Jager (Bulls), S Kolisi, P Du Toit (both Stormers), F Louw (Bath). Replacements: B Mbonambi, S Kitshoff, W Louw (all Stormers), F Mostert (Lions), R Paige, H Pollard (both Bulls), F Venter (Cheetahs).

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