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Tuesday 27 September 2016

Schmidt’s men to go after sub-standard Springbok scrum

Coach Allister Coetzee. Pic: Sportsfile
Coach Allister Coetzee. Pic: Sportsfile

South Africa coach Allister Coetzee has called Coenie Oosthuizen up for the third test.

The 20-stones 27 year-old, once great white hope for Springbok scrummaging, has long been rated as one who never lived up to the hype.

This is a reflection of how shallow the resources are for their much vaunted front row with the Du Plessis brothers Bismarck and Jannie, now in Montpellier. Ireland know their single most dominant area in the second test was at the scrum where Jack McGrath, captain Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong overpowered Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss and Frans Malherbe.

The issue for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is whether to restore Mike Ross to the front row and what to do about the engine room where the options have increased through the improvement of Ultan Dillane and the flexibility of Iain Henderson.

CJ Stander looks a certainty for the blindside, probably allowing Henderson to partner Devin Toner and Dillane to fire from the bench.

It would be hard to dislodge Jordi Murphy based on the first test, although Rhys Ruddock put in a Herculean shift on the openside in the second test.

Luke Marshall should be restored to the centre and Keith Earls to the wing in an area of concern in the absence of Robbie Henshaw.

There is some conjecture about the fitness of Jared Payne, opening the door for Tiernan O'Halloran to compete for his first start.

All will be revealed when the Ireland team and replacements will be announced this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Leinster have confirmed three pre-season matches ahead of the beginning of the PRO12 League.

They will first take their show on the road to Navan against Ulster, hop to Tallaght for the second against Gloucester and conclude at home to Bath in The RDS.

LEINSTER PRE-SEASON FIXTURES

Leinster v Ulster, Saturday August 13, Navan RFC (Kick Off: 3.0pm)

Leinster v Gloucester, Saturday August 20, Tallaght Stadium (Kick Off: 3.0pm)

Leinster v Bath, Friday August 26, RDS Arena (Kick Off: 7.30pm)

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