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Farrell: Springboks Are The Best Side Ever!

  • July 11, 2024
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Farrell: Springboks Are The Best Side Ever!

At a press conference held on Thursday at Durban’s Garden Court, Ireland coach Andy Farrell reiterated his belief that South Africa is the best team in the world, possibly even the greatest international rugby team ever.

Farrell’s team fell short in the first Test against the powerful Springboks last weekend in Pretoria. This marked South Africa’s first victory over Ireland since 2016.

The Boks, aware of the potential threat to their top ranking and fresh off their defeat to Ireland in last year’s Rugby World Cup group stage (where the Boks defended their title), understand that Ireland’s number two ranking is no fluke. The Irish stepped up when needed in Pretoria, prompting Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus to retain the same winning team for the second Test.

When asked by Sportswire if Ireland could salvage the tour by drawing it 1-1, Farrell mentioned South Africa’s top ranking within his assessment, then jokingly questioned the possibility of a draw.

“Do you think we got a chance (to salvage the tour)?,” Farrell asked Sportswire, eliciting laughter from other journalists in the press room.

“Do you think we have a chance? I know it is big for South Africa, I get that. It is two-game series, is it a series when it is a two-game, I don’t know, but I know it is three (when it is a series).  

“But it is our last chance to have a crack in what is the best side in this moment. We relish that and we think when you put on a green shirt, you absolutely have a chance.”  

For the second Test at Hollywood Bets Kings Park Stadium on Saturday (17:00), Farrell has named Caelan Doris as captain for the second time as Ireland strives to level the series.

Following his Test debut in Pretoria last weekend, Jamie Osborne retains his spot at full-back in an unchanged back three alongside James Lowe and Calvin Nash.

Garry Ringrose joins Robbie Henshaw in midfield, while the half-back pairing features an all-Munster duo with Conor Murray at scrum-half and Jack Crowley at fly-half.

The front row consists of Andrew Porter, Rónan Kelleher, and Tadhg Furlong. Joe McCarthy and James Ryan are named in the second row. Tadhg Beirne shifts to blindside flanker, with Josh van der Flier at openside and Doris captaining the team at number eight.

Farrell has a strong bench at his disposal: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ryan Baird, and Peter O’Mahony provide forward replacements, while Caolin Blade, Ciaran Frawley, and Stuart McCloskey round out Ireland’s 23-man matchday squad.

Picture courtesy of Irish Rugby

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