International rugby returns to the Aviva Stadium for the first time since March as Ireland entertain South Africa in the GUINNESS Series opener against South Africa. You can keep up-to-date with today’s Test via our O2 MatchDay Live service right here on IrishRugby.ie.
Missing a number of frontliners through injury, including regular captain Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland enter the GUINNESS Series with a new-look squad led by number 8 Jamie Heaslip.
Heaslip, Irish rugby’s 101st captain in Test rugby, will skipper a side containing one debutant, hooker Richardt Strauss, and three more newcomers among the replacements – props David Kilcoyne and Michael Bent and Ulster youngster Iain Henderson.
Simon Zebo will don the number 15 jersey for the first time at senior international level, while Mike McCarthy and Chris Henry have been rewarded for their provincial exploits with starting places in the second row and back row respectively.
Today’s clash at the Aviva Stadium is the 21st Test match between Ireland and South Africa. The Springboks have dominated down through the years, winning on 15 occasions with just one draw (8-8 in 1970).
Ireland, however, have been much more competitive of late, winning three of the last four Tests over the last eight years.
The Springboks came up trumps in the most recent encounter in November 2010, beating Declan Kidney’s men 23-21 in the first match at the redeveloped Lansdowne Road.
Tommy Bowe, winning his 50th cap tonight on the right wing, made his debut for Ireland in a 55-6 win over the USA in 2004 and has since scored 24 tries for his country. He is Ireland’s third highest try scorer behind Denis Hickie (29 tries) and O’Driscoll (45).
Both line-ups have a virtually identical number of caps, with Ireland fielding 382 caps to South Africa’s 396. Ireland have an average age of 27 to the tourists’ 26, with the 20-year-old Henderson the youngest player in the Irish camp and lock Eben Etzebeth (21) the baby of the ‘Boks squad.
We will have live text commentary direct from the stadium, so plug in your laptop or turn on the PC and enjoy a flavour of the Test live on IrishRugby.ie.
There will be full live text and score updates throughout the coverage, with the game kicking off at 5.30pm.
You can watch live TV coverage of the match on RTÉ Two and BBC Two. Michael Corcoran will also be providing live commentary of the game on RTÉ Radio 1 (DAB, LW 252 and RTÉ.ie), with their coverage beginning shortly before kick-off.
Starting at 5pm with our pre-match build-up, you can feel part of the action on IrishRugby.ie with MatchDay Live.
Look out for the MatchDay Live button in the Ireland section or simply click on the link below: