Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber opted for continuity in selection for their Castle Lager Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday, making only three changes to his matchday squad – one of which was enforced – as the Boks aim to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to the Wallabies.
In the two personnel changes in the starting lineup, Marvin Orie takes over at lock from Lood de Jager, who has started his concussion return to play protocol, and Trevor Nyakane was named at loosehead prop, with Steven Kitshoff named amongst the replacements in place of Ox Nché.
Nyakane, who boasts 48 Test caps, and Orie last ran out for the Springboks in the team’s second Test against Argentina in Nelson Mandela Bay a little over three weeks ago – and with the set pieces and contact points expected to be key areas of the game, they will look to make their presence felt.
Nienaber again opted for a six-two split of forwards on the bench where Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith and Jasper Wiese will add impetus along with the front row of Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx and Vincent Koch, while Herschel Jantjies and Damian Willemse will provide cover in the backline.
“This is an experienced group of players who knows what it takes to deliver under pressure, and we all know what we need to do to bounce back from last week’s defeat,” said Nienaber.
“Trevor is a Rugby World Cup winning prop and his experience, as well as Steven’s experience off the bench, will be valuable against the Wallabies, who place a big emphasis on the scrums, much like we do.
“Marvin has also been in our system for a while. He has been working hard at training, and this will be another great opportunity for him.
“We identified the areas in which we need to be more effective this week, and we have been working hard at training to rectify the mistakes we made, so the key for us will be to be as competitive as possible in every contest during the match so that we can lay a good foundation to attack from and to use our point-scoring chances.”
Nienaber, who confirmed that Cheslin Kolbe was not yet ready to play and is still busy with rehabilitation following injury, expected another quality performance from the Wallabies and he looked forward to a great contest.
“Australia were desperate to win last week, and it showed in the way they played,” said Nienaber.
“There is no doubt the result would have given them confidence, so we are expecting to them deliver a similarly driven performance this week.
“That said, we know what we are capable of as a team, and we created sufficient opportunities to win last week, but we didn’t capitalise on them. So, we back our systems and structures, and it is now a matter of being as effective as possible in executing our plan.
“We are expecting another grind of a match, but we are ready for the challenge.
“Our next three matches will be similar to playing a quarter-final, semi-final and final if we want to defend our Castle Lager Rugby Championship title, and we are under no illusions about what it will take to achieve this.”
Matthew Carley (England) has been appointed the match referee, with Luke Pearce (England) and Graham Cooper (Australia) serving as the assistant referees, while Brett Cronan (Australia) will be the TMO.
The match, which kicks off at the Suncorp Stadium at 17h05 (09h05 SA time), will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
Springbok team to face Australia at the Suncorp Stadium:
15 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 67 caps, 60 pts (12t)
14 – Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) – 13 caps, 40 pts (8t)
13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 20 caps, 20 pts (4t)
12 – Damian de Allende (Munster) – 52 caps, 30 pts (6t)
11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 19 caps, 80 pts (16t)
10 – Handré Pollard (vice-captain, Montpellier) – 54 caps, 532 pts (6t, 83c, 108p, 4d)
9 – Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) – 33 caps, 25 pts (5t)
8 – Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls) – 55 caps, 15 pts (3t)
7 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 45 caps, 5pts (1t)
6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 57 caps, 30 pts (6t)
5 –Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 6 caps, 0 pts
4 – Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 91 caps, 15 pts (3t)
3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 44 caps, 5 pts (1t)
2 – Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 42 caps, 45 pts (9t)
1 – Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 48 caps, 5pts (1t)
16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 40 caps, 45 pts (9t)
17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 53 caps, 5pts (1t)
18 – Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 25 caps, 0 pts
19 – Marco van Staden (Leicester Tigers) – 7 caps, 0 pts
20 – Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 13 caps, 5 pts (1t)
21 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 6 caps, 0 pts
22 – Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 15 caps, 25 pts (5t)
23 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 13 caps, 5pts (1t)
Springbok record against Australia:
Played 89; Won 48, Lost 38, Drawn 3; Points for 1759, Points against 1578; Tries scored 205, Tries conceded 160; Highest score 61 pts, Biggest win 45 pts; Win %: 54%.
- The Springboks have played 15 Tests against Australia in Brisbane since 1956 and have won only three of those matches.
- The average score for the 15 Tests is 24-15 in favour of Australia.
- The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is
- There are 258 caps in the backline with 388 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 172
- The average caps per player in the backline are 36 the forwards 48 while the players on the bench average 21.
Sean O’Brien to retire from rugby
London Irish can confirm Seán O’Brien is set to retire from rugby at the end of the 2021/22 season.
The back-row forward will bring a storied 14-year career to a conclusion this summer after two-and-a-half years with the Exiles.
O’Brien spent eleven seasons with his home province of Leinster, winning four Pro12/ Pro14 league titles, four Heineken Cup/ Champions Cup honours and an Amlin Challenge Cup, whilst also earning the ERC European Player of the Year accolade in 2011.
He was capped 56 times for Ireland between 2009 and 2019 and represented the British and Irish Lions on two tours, firstly to Australia in 2013 and then to New Zealand in 2017.
O’Brien joined London Irish in December 2019 and has played a vital part across three successful seasons in west London, becoming a fan favourite amongst the Exile Nation.
On his decision to retire, O’Brien stated: “After much deliberation and consultation with my family and friends, I can confirm that I have decided to retire from playing professional rugby at the end of the season.
“I’ve had an incredible career and am thankful for every second of my time at Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the British & Irish Lions.
“As a 20-year-old, I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the Leinster jersey, and when I made my debut against Cardiff Blues in 2008, I never imagined what would then follow over the next 14 years.
“A special mention must go to Colin McEntee for his ‘big brother’ approach when I joined the academy.
“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career.
“At an international level, I feel privileged to have won 56 caps for Ireland.
“I gave everything I could possibly give, and I will always look back with great pride at every time I pulled on the Irish jersey to represent my country, my county, my friends, and family.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had but none of it would have been possible without the support of so many people.
“Firstly, I would like to thank my Mam and Dad for taking me to Ballon Rathoe Community Games and then Tullow RFC when I was 8 years old.
“They took me to every sport in my area which gave me the exposure to all types of sport.
“They were the perfect role models who taught me to not be afraid of hard work, which certainly helped me progress my career and I can’t thank them enough.
“I was lucky to play alongside some great players and under some brilliant managers and coaches during my time at Tullow, Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the Lions and I would like to thank every one of them.
“I would also like to thank the backroom staff at each of those clubs, they all showed me fantastic support during my time with them.
“I would like to say a special thank you to some people who believed in me early on in my career, who are sadly no longer with us.
“Jim Kealy (Tullow RFC) and David Wilkie (Edenderry RFC) always said the right thing to me and gave me direction when needed.
“Away from rugby, I feel lucky to have had such a close group of friends that I have always been able to count and rely on throughout the course of my career.
“Thanks to all of you, especially James Foley and Daniel Davey.
“Finally, the most important thank you is reserved for my family.
“I can’t thank my Mum, Dad and brothers (Stephen and William) sisters (Caroline and Alex) enough for their unconditional support over the years.
“It has meant everything to me and to have 6 nephews watching means the world to me.
“There is still a lot of rugby to be played this season before the time comes to hang up my boots, and I am fully focused on giving my all in the London Irish jersey until then.
“I’m going to soak up every minute I get on the pitch and look forward to helping the team wherever I can.
“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be.
“I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”
Ryan And Baird Ruled Out Of Scotland Game. 2 called up.
The Ireland squad returned to Dublin on Saturday evening following the victory over England at Twickenham and reassembled at Carton House on Sunday evening.
James Ryan will not be considered for selection this week and his return to rugby protocols will be supervised by the Leinster Medical Team. Ryan Baird is ruled out of the final fixture of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations with a back issue.
Uncapped locks Ross Molony and Joe McCarthy have been called up to train with the squad. Ross has been involved in Ireland squads since the summer of 2021 while Joe, a former Ireland U20 player, made his Leinster debut against Cardiff in January having impressed for Dublin University in the Energia AIL.
Robert Baloucoune, Nick Timoney and Mike Lowry all return after lining out for Ulster in the URC against Leinster at the weekend.
Ireland play Scotland in the final round of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations Championship on Saturday 19th March at 4.45pm. The game is being televised by Virgin (ROI) and ITV (NI).
Ireland Squad Round 5 2022 Guinness Six Nations Championships
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 36 caps
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 2 caps
Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 31 caps
Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 11 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 5 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 30 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 16 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) 3 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 56 caps
James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 3 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 19 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 11 caps
Michael Lowry (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 95 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 41 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 104 caps CAPTAIN
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 22 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 29 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 26 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 16 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 56 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 115 caps
Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 6 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 67 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 25 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 47 caps
Jeremy Loughman (Munster/Garryowen) uncapped
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin) uncapped
Ross Molony (Leinster/UCD) uncapped
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 83 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 6 caps
Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 2 caps
Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 4 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 39 caps
Johnny Sexton Signs Contract Extension to 2023 Rugby World Cup￼
Ireland and Leinster out-half Johnny Sexton has signed a contract extension up until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
In November Johnny earned his 100th cap for Ireland against Japan and played a pivotal role in Ireland’s third defeat of New Zealand. He hit the milestone of 500 Six Nations Championship points against Wales in Round 1 of this year’s tournament and has represented Ireland on 103 occasions to date.
The former World Player of the Year was appointed Ireland captain by Andy Farrell in January 2020 and has led the team to ten victories in his 13 game tenure as the on field general.
Johnny made his international debut against Fiji in November 2009 and has represented Ireland at three Rugby World Cups (2011, 2015 & 2019). Johnny is a two time Lions tourist (2013 & 2017) and has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and five European Cups with Leinster. He has represented his provinces on 178 occasions, scoring 1549 points.
David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: “Johnny’s performances continue to be of the highest standard and he remains an integral member of the Ireland and Leinster squads. He has always been a leader on the field and in the past two years since taking on the Ireland captaincy his leadership off it has been top class. Johnny is a generational player and we are delighted that he has extended to 2023.”
Johnny Sexton, commented: “I always said that if I am enjoying my rugby and the Ireland and Leinster set-ups believe I can add value to the environment then it would be an easy decision to sign another contract. There is some great talent coming through at Leinster at present and I am excited about the prospect of competing at a fourth World Cup with Ireland and the potential for growth in this group between now and then.”