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Thursday 18 December 2014

Bouncing 'Bok the key for Reddan

FIRST things first. Ireland have beaten South Africa on three of the last four occasions.

There is no history of insecurity through dire results that can be used as a weapon against Declan Kidney's men. They are not the All Blacks. Not at the moment anyway.

Still, Ireland have shipped a cluster of senior internationals that limit the optimism of a country that could do with win number four from five.

Leinster scrum-half Eoin Reddan will vie for a starting slot against Munster's Conor Murray. He sees the Hamilton hammering as a possible turning point.

"It could be the big thing that pushes us forward, not just this weekend, but against all opposition," he said.

Reddan was not about to play down the talent of the new names that have stepped in for some of the old ones, the young men that could ride to the rescue of Kidney.

"You have to move on. The guys have to step up. The guys who have played a lot have to make their introduction to the game as easy as possible," said the Leinster nine.

"The kind of players we're missing are very good players and it is hard to replace them. I definitely think we have the ability to do that. People bring different things. This is where we are at," he said.

The message is clear. This is the door ajar that the likes of Richardt Strauss, Darren Cave, Chris Henry and Simon Zebo have been looking to walk through, not just as interlopers, as equals, as real live challengers to the incumbents.

"I do think we are in a position where we can use it to our advantage and maybe have even more good players by the time they come back."

Undoubtedly, there is a deficit in leadership. Who will emerge from the pack? Who will return to the shadows of the international stage?

"Rather than there being a vacuum, people (need to) step up and say what needs to be said. There has to be a bit of that. Otherwise, people will be looking around wondering what's going on," he said.

The Springboks are handicapped themselves by a list of absent friends that would make a grown man scream out in anguish.

The difference is South Africa can afford the loss like a millionaire can afford his Mercedes engine to blow up.

They are the closest thing to a driving machine you will find in world rugby, a mechanical sort of contraption. You get what you see and what you see isn't always pretty. But, it is reliable and it will last for 80 minutes of combat.

Ultimately, Ireland need to bin the bad taste of that Hamilton hammering from the All Blacks. It is still right there to the forefront of the players' minds.

Rubbish

"You have to take away the fact that we were rubbish and actually look at what happened. When you do that, you come up with a few things you can do to be better," said Reddan.

"In reality, the reason to win it is, on paper, the World Cup rankings.

"For the country, the fans, I suppose, for the players themselves and for the coaching staff, it would be a huge opportunity to put that behind us.

"The fact that it is a southern hemisphere team just makes it a little closer to home if we do beat them, it will be a big step forward in the right direction."

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