In what promises to be a thrilling showdown on Saturday, South Africa is set to take on Ireland in a highly anticipated Pool B match at the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The clash will take place at the iconic Stade de France in Paris, and fans around the world are buzzing with excitement as the defending champions prepare to face off against the top-ranked Irish team.
One of the key headlines leading up to this epic encounter is the return of Eben Etzebeth to the South African squad. Etzebeth, a formidable presence in the second row, had been nursing a shoulder injury sustained during their victorious battle against Scotland, where South Africa emerged triumphant with an 18-3 scoreline. Fortunately for the Springboks, Etzebeth has been declared fit to take on Ireland, and his presence is sure to add to the intensity of the match.
South Africa’s journey in this tournament has been nothing short of intriguing. After their initial victory over Scotland, they made a bold move by making 14 changes for their game against Romania, which resulted in a dominant 76-0 win. However, for this crucial clash against Ireland, they have decided to return to the starting lineup that faced Scotland, with one notable exception: the absence of hooker Malcolm Marx due to injury. In Marx’s absence, Bongi Mbonambi will don the number two jersey.
Speaking of changes, another significant adjustment sees Damian Willemse transitioning from fly-half to full-back. Willemse’s versatility and skill set will undoubtedly be an asset as South Africa faces the formidable Irish side.
The Springboks’ coach, Jacques Nienaber, has made a calculated decision by opting for seven forwards on the bench, with the versatile Cobus Reinach being the only back among the replacements. Reinach not only provides depth at scrum-half but can also cover the wing if needed. Additionally, forward replacement Kwagga Smith, known for his Sevens experience, could potentially offer a backs option, adding an element of unpredictability to the South African bench.
Etzebeth, partnering with Franco Mostert in the second row, forms a formidable duo that will aim to dominate the lineouts and scrums. The back row boasts the return of captain Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, and Jasper Wiese, promising fierce competition at the breakdowns.
In the half-back combination, Faf de Klerk and Manie Libbok will be looking to orchestrate South Africa’s attack, while the pacey duo of Kurt-Lee Arendse and Cheslin Kolbe will patrol the wings. The center pairing of Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel adds further firepower to the backline.
A notable inclusion on the bench is lock Jean Kleyn, who previously earned five caps for Ireland before switching his international allegiance back to his native South Africa. His presence among the replacements underscores the depth and competitiveness within the South African squad.
Ireland will enter this contest with confidence, having secured a narrow 19-16 victory in their last encounter with South Africa in Dublin. However, the Springboks are determined to rise to the occasion and prove their mettle on the world stage once again.
In the words of Coach Nienaber, “We know it’s going to be a grind of a match, and we know we need to pitch up physically and mentally.” With both teams boasting talent and determination, rugby fans can expect nothing less than a thrilling spectacle on Saturday evening in Paris. Stay tuned for what promises to be a Rugby World Cup clash for the ages.
For those unable to attend the match in person, you can catch all the action on BBC Sounds, BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Radio Ulster, with live text commentary available on the Sport News Center website and app. The rugby world awaits this epic showdown with bated breath.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rugby World Cup
Question: When and where is the South Africa vs. Ireland Rugby World Cup match taking place?
Answer: The South Africa vs. Ireland Rugby World Cup match will be held at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday, 23 September. Kick-off is scheduled for 20:00 BST.
Question: Who is returning to the South African squad for this match?
Answer: Eben Etzebeth is making a highly-anticipated return to the South African squad for the clash against Ireland. He had been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained during the previous game against Scotland.
Question: What significant changes has South Africa made to their lineup for this match?
Answer: South Africa has returned to the starting lineup that faced Scotland, with one notable exception: Malcolm Marx, the injured hooker, will be replaced by Bongi Mbonambi. Additionally, Damian Willemse has transitioned from fly-half to full-back for this crucial match.
Question: How many forwards and backs are included on South Africa’s bench for this match?
Answer: South Africa’s coach, Jacques Nienaber, has opted for seven forwards on the bench, with the versatile Cobus Reinach being the sole back among the replacements. This decision adds depth and flexibility to the squad.
Question: What are the key matchups and players to watch in this Rugby World Cup clash?
Answer: Keep an eye on the second-row battle between Eben Etzebeth and Ireland’s James Ryan. The back row featuring Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, and Jasper Wiese is expected to be a crucial factor in the contest. Additionally, the transition of Damian Willemse to full-back and the center pairing of Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel will be key elements of South Africa’s attack.
Question: How did Ireland fare in their most recent encounter with South Africa?
Answer: Ireland secured a narrow 19-16 victory in their most recent encounter with South Africa in Dublin last November. This win will likely provide Ireland with confidence heading into this match.
Question: Where can I follow live coverage of this Rugby World Cup match if I can’t attend in person?
Answer: If you can’t attend the match in person, you can catch all the action on BBC Sounds, BBC Radio 5 Live, and BBC Radio Ulster. Live text commentary will also be available on the Sport News Center website and app, ensuring you don’t miss a moment of this exciting clash.
More about Rugby World Cup
- Rugby World Cup Official Website: For official information and updates on the Rugby World Cup.
- BBC Sport: To access live text commentary and coverage of the South Africa vs. Ireland match.
- Stade de France Official Website: For details about the venue where the match will take place.
- Eben Etzebeth Profile: Learn more about Eben Etzebeth, the returning South African player.
- South African Rugby Union: For news and updates on the South African rugby team.
- Irish Rugby: Stay informed about the Irish rugby team and their preparations for the match.