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The Ireland match day 23 to take on reigning Rugby World Cup Champions South Africa in the opening fixture of the Bank of Ireland Nations Series on Saturday has been named.
Munster’s Conor Murray will earn his 100th Ireland cap this weekend. He is one of only five players who started the last game between the two sides in 2017. Tadhg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw, Peter O’Mahony and Johnny Sexton were the other players to start against the Springbok five years ago.
Cian Healy, named on the bench for this weekend’s fixture, also started the 2017 game while Rob Herring, James Ryan and Joey Carbery were among the replacements that day.
Tadhg Beirneand Jack Conan have never played for Ireland against South Africa but featured against the Springbok for the British & Irish Lions in the 2021 Test Series. Tadhg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw and Conor Murray also played in that Test Series.
Finlay Bealham has experience of playing the South Africans as he was a replacement in the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg on the 2016 Tour.
Robert Baloucoune, Caelan Doris, Jamison Gibson Park, Mack Hansen, Hugo Keenan, Stuart McCloskey, Andrew Porter, Garry Ringrose, Dan Sheehan, Kieran Treadwell and Josh van der Flier have never faced South Africa at senior level.
Robert Baloucoune missed the summer tour of New Zealand through injury but started against both the Griquas and the Cheetahs for Emerging Ireland last month.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton will make his 109th appearance for Ireland this Saturday becoming the country’s fifth most capped player of all time pushing current Forwards Coach Paul O’Connell into sixth position.
Nathan Doak, Tom Stewart and Stewart Moore have now joined the extended squad.
Ireland Squad v South Africa at Aviva Stadium on Saturday, KO 5.30pm
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 23 caps14. Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 2 caps 13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 44 caps 12.Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 60 caps 11. Mack Hansen (Connacht) 6 caps 10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 108 caps CAPTAIN 9. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 99 caps
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 46 caps2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 10 caps 3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 60 caps 4. Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 33 caps 5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 46 caps 6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 87 caps 7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 43 caps 8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 20 caps Replacements
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 28 caps17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 118 caps 18. Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 25 caps 19. Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 8 caps 20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 30 caps 21. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 20 caps 22. Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 35 caps 23. Stuart McCloskey (Ulster/Bangor) 6 caps