Darren Cave says Ireland face their biggest physical challenge to date when they tackle world champions South Africa in Dublin on Saturday.
Ireland head into their Bank of Ireland Nations Series opener looking to pick up where they left off during July’s historic series win in New Zealand, but they face a much different test against a powerful Springboks pack.
Speaking on Against The Head, former Ireland and Ulster centre Cave believes Andy Farrell’s side will get their autumn off to a winning start, provided they match South Africa up front.
“If Ireland do have an Achilles heel, is it that absolute brute power and size that the likes of France and South Africa will bring,” said Cave. “We’re going to find out a bit more in the next few weeks.
“As a country we’re very quick to talk about everyone else. We’re naturally reluctant to talk about the fact Ireland are the best rugby team in the world.
“If we do get parity up front I think we’ll out rugby them but it’s easier said than done. South Africa are incredibly powerful.
“You look at the front five and Dan Sheehan is playing as well as any hooker in the world, but Ronan Kelleher [who misses out due to injury] is a big man. The same with Iain Henderson missing in the second row.
“It’s going to be interesting to see if the likes of Joe McCarthy steps up. We need big men if we’re going to beat the Boks.”
‘Is our scrum going to be strong enough?’ – @CoghlanFiona says Ireland’s evolving game is dependent on getting a solid foundation in the pack against South Africa #AgainstTheHead pic.twitter.com/vyAfLUQdMF
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) October 31, 2022
Former Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan also voiced concerns about the heft of Ireland’s pack, but pointed out South Africa have issues at out-half. Handre Pollard is injured and while Damien Willemse has moved from full-back to 10, his goalkicking has been erratic.
“They haven’t really decided who their 10 is,” said Coghlan. “Pollard is injured, Willemse has gone in there, is [Manie] Libbok going to get in? I think they have issues around out-half.
“They have the front eight that will be able to perform, Malcolm Marx and Frans Malherbe have been outstanding, but 10 is their Achilles heel at the moment.
“We struggled against France, our scrum struggled against England who were down to 14 men. Is our scrum going to be strong enough? Are we going to get that first-phase possession to be able to play like Ireland play? Can they win the breakdown?
“We’ve evolved our game so far but now the question is whether we can match them up front.”
Follow a live blog on Ireland v South Africa on RTÉ.ie/sport and RTÉ News app this Saturday from 5pm with live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1
Source link : https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiZGh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnJ0ZS5pZS9zcG9ydC9ydWdieS8yMDIyLzEwMzEvMTMzMjQ2OS1jYXZlLWJva3MtYnJ1dGUtcG93ZXItYW4tYWNoaWxsZXMtaGVlbC1mb3ItaXJlbGFuZC_SAQA?oc=5
Publish date : 2022-10-31 21:40:58