Rassie Erasmus expects stiff battle for South Africa in series against Ireland

Rassie Erasmus predicts another tight contest with Ireland
Rassie Erasmus predicts another tight contest with Ireland
©Steve Haag

South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus said he is expecting a stiff challenge from Ireland when the teams lock horns with each other in the two-game Test series.

The first Test has been scheduled at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday before the teams head to Hollywoodbets Kings Park for the second and final game of the series.

Even though the Boks will be high in confidence after completing their second successive World Cup triumph last year in France, they lost their previous three games against Ireland including the encounter in the 2023 showpiece event at Stade de France.

“Ireland have had the upper hand over us in the last few years and they will certainly want to build on that on Saturday,” said Erasmus.

“That said, we have a good idea of what to expect from them, especially after the World Cup last year.

“They have a few new players in their ranks this year, but so do we and that contributes to the excitement for the match.

"They are a physical team that never give up, but the margins between the teams are fairly small, so it’s going to be an intense battle and one that will require a resolute performance for the full 80 minutes.”

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Reserves: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Marco van Staden, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu