Cape Town – Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is confident that South African-born lock Quinn Roux will pass the Test in his international debut against the Springboks in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The former Stormers lock’s inclusion is one of five personnel changes to the Ireland team that claimed an historic win over South Africa last weekend and a further five new faces among the substitutes.
Hooker Rory Best captains the side for the 11th time and is joined in the front row by Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong, who comes in for his first international start at tighthead, while Devin Toner is partnered in the second row by Roux from Connacht.
Iain Henderson switches to the blindside flank, taking over from the suspended CJ Stander, and Rhys Ruddock comes in at openside for his first start since November 2014, with vice-captain Jamie Heaslip at No 8.
Conor Murray and Paddy Jackson are retained as halfbacks, while Robbie Henshaw is joined in the centre by Ulster’s Stuart Olding, who is set for his first start since his debut against the USA three years ago. Henshaw also made his international bow that night in Houston.
Craig Gilroy is introduced on the left wing for his eighth cap, making it an all-Ulster back-three alongside Andrew Trimble and full-back Jared Payne.
Sean Reidy and Tiernan O’Halloran are the two uncapped players on the bench and they are joined by South African-born Richardt Strauss, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Donnacha Ryan, Kieran Marmion and Ian Madigan.
Commenting on the selection of new cap Roux and Furlong up front, Schmidt told the IRFU’s official website: “I think one of the things for us is Quinn very much a very good set piece player. In the scrum and lineout, I think he’s very proficient in those two areas and he’s trained incredibly well since he’s been with us.
“I know Quinn very well from having coached him for two years previously (at Leinster) and during those two years he struggled to get real rhythm because he had a number of injuries and every time he got back playing, he unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to have a succession of games that would have allowed him I think to progress.
“We’ve seen a bit of that progress in Connacht this season and I guess we’re challenging him to progress a bit further in that international arena.
“It is a big day for Tadhg. I know that he and Quinn and Iain Henderson on that axis at the scrum will be working incredibly hard to be as combative and as effective as possible. Tadhg is another guy who has trained incredibly well. Tadhg has spent a fair bit of time with us without getting a massive amount of time with us out on the actual pitch.
“He started the season with us at the World Cup, he’s remained with us throughout the season and so it’s a huge ask for him, but we wouldn’t do it if we weren’t confident that he can step up and deliver something. It’s a whole different realm stepping into the lion’s den.”
Saturday’s clash is scheduled to kick off at 17:00.
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 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Rudy Paige 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Ruan Combrinck
15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Rhys Ruddock, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Jack McGrath
Substitutes: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Tiernan O’Halloran