Something has got to give at Avchala Stadium today as Emerging Ireland look to make it two wins out out in the IRB Tbilisi Cup against fellow unbeaten side, the South Africa President’s XV.
IRB TBILISI CUP: Tuesday, June 11
EMERGING IRELAND v SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT’S XV, Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi, 5pm local time/2pm Irish time (IRB live stream)
Team News: The Emerging Ireland team to play the South Africa President’s XV in their second match of the IRB Tbilisi Cup has been named by head coach Allen Clarke.
The Emerging Ireland management have made six changes – three in the backs and three in the forwards – to the side that the 20-15 victory over host nation Georgia last Friday.
Niall Annett has been promoted from the replacements bench to join Jack McGrath and Michael Bent in the front row with Ian Nagle linking up with his Munster colleague David Foley in the second row.
Leinster’s Jordi Murphy makes his first start of the tournament alongside Emerging ireland captain Rhys Ruddock and Robbie Diack in the back row.
A freshened-up centre pairing sees Noel Reid make his first start in Georgia alongside fellow Leinster back Brendan Macken and John Cooney takes over from Michael Heaney at scrum half.
Munster’s David O’Callaghan has been brought into to the squad as a replacement for Lewis Stevenson who has returned home due to illness. O’Callaghan has been named on the bench for the clash with the South Africans.
Tuesday’s match will be streamed live on the IRB website, and sees the winning sides from the opening round go head to head. The South Africa President’s XV claimed a bonus point when defeating Uruguay 37-9.
Meanwhile, South Africa President’s XV head coach Jimmy Stonehouse has named a new-look team for their encounter with Emerging Ireland in the Georgian capital.
Only three players who featured in the starting team in the Uruguay game – lock and captain Brendon Snyman, flanker Uzair Cassiem and centre Adriaan Engelbrecht – retain their places as Stonehouse makes sure that the entire tour squad gets game-time.
Number 8 Zandre Jordaan, who has recovered from the ‘flu which ruled him out of the clash with Uruguay, has been handed a starting berth.
Loosehead prop Vincent Koch will make his first appearance of the tournament in a strong all-Steval Pumas front row alongside tighthead Ivann Espag and hooker Frank Herne.
From a leadership perspective, out-half Carl Bezuidenhout, who comes in for Ricardo Croy, also takes over the vice-captaincy duties from his team-mate.
EMERGING IRELAND: David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster); Niall Morris (Leicester Tigers/Exile), Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/Leinster), Noel Reid (Clontarf/Leinster), Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht); Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster), John Cooney (Lansdowne/Leinster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Michael Bent (Leinster), David Foley (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Robbie Diack (Malone/Ulster).
Replacements: Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Richard Lutton (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), David O’Callaghan (Dolphin/Munster), Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht), Michael Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Eoin Griffin (Galwegians/Connacht), Michael Allen (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster).
SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT’S XV: Coenie van Wyk (Steval Pumas); Alshaun Bock (SWD Eagles), Wilmaure Louw (Steval Pumas), Adriaan Engelbrecht (Leopards), Rosco Speckman (Steval Pumas); Carl Bezuidenhout (Steval Pumas), Ntando Kebe (Regent Boland Cavaliers); Vincent Koch (Steval Pumas), Frank Herne (Steval Pumas), Ivann Espag (Steval Pumas), Eduan van der Walt (Steval Pumas), Brendon Snyman (Leopards) (capt), Brian Shabangu (Border Bulldogs), Uzair Cassiem (Steval Pumas), Zandre Jordaan (Regent Boland Cavaliers).
Replacements: Khwezilokuza Mkhafu (Border Bulldogs), Martin Dreyer (Leopards), Giant Mtyanda (SWD Eagles), Jaco Bouwer (Steval Pumas), Sinovuyo Nyoka (Border Bulldogs), Stefan Watermeyer (Steval Pumas), Jerome Pretorius (Steval Pumas).
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Nikoloz Amashukeli, Shota Tevzadze (both Georgia)
Pre-Match Quotes: Allen Clarke (Emerging Ireland head coach) – “It was a huge test. Georgia were in their own back yard and had the crowd behind them. Psychologically and physically it was a big ask for a young squad.
“It is great to have that game under our belt and we have identified the areas we need to improve ahead of Tuesday night.
“It will be a difficult game against the South Africans, they are experienced and physical and we have to try and match that and impose our game on them.”
Jimmy Stonehouse (South Africa President’s XV head coach) – “The Irish are a good side with a squad of players with provincial rugby experience. They will be physical, they have a powerful back five in the scrum and if we can compete at set piece then I think we can give them a run for their money.
“We have made a few changes for this game, including the front row, which was always the plan. We have been forced into a change at number 8 with the injury to Renaldo Bothma. He is replaced by Zandre Jordaan.”
Emerging Ireland Tbilisi Cup Results/Fixtures –
Friday, June 7: Georgia 15 Emerging Ireland 20, Avchala Stadium
Tuesday, June 11: Emerging Ireland v South Africa President’s XV, Avchala Stadium, 5pm local time/2pm Irish time
Sunday, June 16: Uruguay v Emerging Ireland, Avchala Stadium, 4pm local time/1pm Irish time
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