Arguably the game of the pool stage takes place in Paris on Saturday night, but who will edge it?
Pool games do not get bigger than this. South Africa, the reigning champions after their 2019 victory, are taking on Ireland, the world’s No 1 ranked side in a clash that is set to decide who will finish top of Pool B, or the Pool of Death. Here are our South Africa v Ireland predictions.
Andy Farrell’s men have had the recent edge over the Springboks, admittedly with home advantage, but Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber have gone out on a limb with a 7-1 forwards bench split. So it is all to play for at the Stade de France.
South Africa v Ireland predictions
Alan Dymock: South Africa by three: It’s a game that will be decided by the finest of margins. Discipline is something to consider. Losing this one won’t be the end of the world for Ireland but South Africa will just edge it in the final ten minutes with their forward power. But Ireland will learn a valuable lesson.
Josh Graham: Ireland by five: Every time I see Andy Farrell’s team play, I increasingly think they are a great shout to win the entire tournament. I initially tipped France and if Ireland can overcome the South African forward power (7-1 split included) then we can dream about a colossal northern hemisphere final. Ireland just have too much up their sleeve to not find a way to crack the Boks, for me at least.
Kick Off Time 8pm BST – 9pm Local –Saturday 23rd September
TV Channel ITV1 (UK) – How To Watch The Rugby World Cup
Venue Stade de France, Paris
Fun Fact: The sixth-largest stadium in Europe, the Stade de France is one of just two stadia in the world to have hosted both football (1998) and rugby union (1999,2007) World Cup Finals – alongside the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.
South Africa form
Beat New Zealand
SOUTH AFRICA V IRELAND head-to-head results
It is the first time these two sides will have ever met at the Rugby World Cup. Ireland have won seven of their last 11 Test matches against the Springboks, including the last two. Eight of the last 11 clashes have been decided by six points or fewer.
South Africa v Ireland team news
South Africa: Damian Willemse; Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jese Kriel, Damina de Allende; Cheslin Kolbe; Manie Libbok, Faf de Klerk; Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe; Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert; Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese.
Replacements: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Jean Kleyn, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Cobus Reinach.
Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (captain), Jameson Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Dave Kilcoyne, Finaly Bealham, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Conor Murray, Jack Crowley, Robbie Henshaw.