Luke Marshall makes his first start for Ireland in two years in Saturday’s opening Test against South Africa: 4pm kick-off
The Irish have never beat the Springboks on South African soil in seven attempts
Paddy Jackson gets the nod at fly-half in the absence of injured Johnny Sexton
All the pressure will be on the Springboks as Ireland kick off their three-Test tour of South Africa at Newlands on Saturday.
Joe Schmidt’s green army are coming off a disappointing Six Nations campaign as they failed to the defend the title, winning just two games against Italy and Scotland. They obliterated the former 58-15 and were fairly convincing against Scotland winning 35-24 in Dublin. But otherwise they drew to Wales and were beaten by England and France.
As a result of this and a number of injuries, there are four changes from the Irish starting XV which finished the Six Nations with a 35-25 win over Scotland.
Jared Payne’s move from midfield to full-back allows Luke Marshall to start at 12 with Robbie Henshaw shifting to outside centre.
Up front, the fit-again Iain Henderson comes into the second row (replacing Donnacha Ryan) while Jordi Murphy comes in at openside flanker for Tommy O’Donnell. South African-born CJ Stander starts on the other side of the scrum.
Meanwhile, South Africa have not played together since the Rugby World Cup in 2015 where they lost 20-18 to the All Blacks in the semi-finals before convincingly beat Argentina 24-13 to finish in third.
New coach Boks chief Allister Coetzee has made olenty of changes from the starting XV that played at the Rugby World Cup.
Pat Lambie starts at fly-half with Elton Jantjies on the bench while Faf De Klerk makes his debut at scrum-half. MLionel Mapoe dons the 13 jersey to gain his second cap for the Boks but it will be his first start, while Lwazi Mvovo fills the gap left by the absence of Rio-bound Bryan Habana.
Siya Kolisi has 13 caps to his name but this will also be his maiden start on the blindside flank. Replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi is set to make his debut off the bench.
2014: Ireland won 29-15 in Dublin
2012: South Africa won 16-12 in Dublin
2010: South Africa won 21-23 in Dublin
2009: Ireland won 15-10 in Dublin
2006: Ireland won 32-15 in Dublin
2004: Ireland won 17-12 in Dublin
2004: South Africa won 26-17 in Cape Town
2004: South Africa won 31-17 in Bloemfontein
South Africa: Willie le Roux
Ireland: Rory Best
Both teams have suffered some serious injury problems but with a new coach you’d think South Africa would enter the game with fresh enthusiasm to hopefully get a result. South Africa by 12
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Jesse Kriel.
Ireland: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Mike Ross, Rory Best (c), 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Tadgh Furlong, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Craig Gilroy.
Date: Saturday, June 11
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Kick-off: 17:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Matthew Carley (England)