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O’Halloran Set For First Ireland Start

O’Halloran Set For First Ireland Start

The Ireland coaches have named the team to take on South Africa in Saturday’s series decider in Port Elizabeth, making six changes in personnel and one positional switch.

Full-back Jared Payne has been ruled out of the series decider with a calf injury. His place will be taken by Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran, who won his first cap off the bench during the final minutes of last weekend’s second Test in Johannesburg.

The uncapped Matt Healy is named among the replacements as is Eoin Reddan, who has announced that he will retire from rugby after the match.

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Hooker Rory Best will captain Ireland for the 12th time and is rejoined in the front row by Mike Ross, while loosehead prop Jack McGrath is set for his third start of the tour.

Devin Toner and the versatile Iain Henderson reunite in the second row, with flankers Jordi Murphy and CJ Stander returning to the back row to link up with number 8 Jamie Heaslip, who scored his 13th try for Ireland last weekend.
Conor Murray continues his partnership with Paddy Jackson at half-back for what will be his 50th cap. The Limerick man will be the third scrum half after Peter Stringer (98) and Reddan (70) to hit the half-century for Ireland.

Luke Marshall returns to the starting line-up and switches to outside centre with his Ulster colleague Olding retaining the number 12 jersey. Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls complete the back-three alongside O’Halloran.

Head coach Joe Schmidt said: “One of the things that we wanted to do was to involve as many players as possible on tour. It means that everybody will have been in a matchday 23 and I think that’s exciting for the players that have come away. We have 32 players, obviously with Robbie (Henshaw) heading back we have 31 still available to us.

“Jared Payne has still got a bit of tightness in his calf. We’re just not prepared to risk further injury if we put him out there. So, at the same time, it’s a great opportunity for Tiernan O’Halloran and for Matt Healy to come in on the bench.

“You couldn’t get a more exciting opportunity than being over here in a Test decider to step up and be involved in your first start or you first opportunity off the bench.”

He added: “I’m utterly confident that the players will make me and themselves proud. They’ll make sure that Ireland feel proud of them because that’s the way they commit to going about their work. And I’ve no doubt that they’ll be no different than it has been in the last two Tests.

“Yes, it’s been a long season, people are tired and that’s going to maybe detract from people being at the their optimum but, at the same time, I don’t think too many people will detect that because what they don’t have in fresh reserves of energy, they’ll make up for in the full commitment they make to doing the job that they do.”

The third Test will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Saturday. Visit irishrugby.ie and the IRFU’s FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube pages for all the latest news, images and videos from the tour of South Africa.

IRELAND Team & Replacements (v South Africa, 2016 Summer Tour Third Test, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, Saturday, June 25, kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time):

15. Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht)
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
13. Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
12. Stuart Olding (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
10. Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
1. Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt)
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
5. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
6. CJ Stander (Munster)
7. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster)

16. Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
17. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)
18. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
19. Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht)
20. Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
21. Eoin Reddan (Old Crescent/Leinster)
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
23. Matt Healy (Connacht) *

* Denotes uncapped player at this level