Ireland’s Jared Payne ruled out of decider against South Africa
Ireland fullback will miss series decider in Port Elizabeth with a calf injury
Ireland’s Jared Payne will be replaced by Jared Payne on Saturday. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Joe Schmidt has confirmed that Jared Payne has been ruled out of Saturday’s third Test, series decider against the Springboks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday. Ireland’s New Zealand-born centre cum fullback, who has performed superbly in the number 15 jersey in the two Tests so far, has been sidelined with a calf injury.
When Payne was forced off three minutes from time in last weeks’ second Test defeat in Johannesburg, his problem was initially diagnosed as cramp but it transpires his injury is more problematic than that and has prevented him from training this week.
The Connacht fullback Tiernan O’Halloran will make his first test start after a three minute debut off the bench last Saturday. O’Halloran has been running at fullback all week, while his Connacht teammate Matt Healy is in line for his Test debut after being named as the back three cover on the bench.
“Jared Payne has still got a bit of tightness in his calf,” said Schmidt, “and we’re just not prepared to risk further injury if we put him out there and at the same time it’s a great opportunity for Tiernan O’Halloran and potentially Matt Healy off the bench.”
As expected Schmidt has reverted to the pack which started the first Test win in Cape Town. Hence there are recalls for the refreshed Mike Ross, CJ Stander and Jordi Murphy, the former and latter having been rested last week while Stander was, of course, suspended after the red card he received 23 minutes into the first test victory.
Luke Marshall and Keith Earls also return to the starting backline, with Marshall shifting across to outside centre in partnering Ulster teammate Stuart Olding. In addition Sean Cronin, Ultan Dillane and Eoin Reddan (for the first time in this series) have been restored to the match-day squad, with Reddan in line to make his farewell appearance after confirming his retirement earlier in the day. On top of losing Robbie Henshaw earlier in the week, Payne’s loss is a significant blow and adds to the relative inexperience of the Irish backline, albeit there is perhaps potentially more impact off the bench.
Ireland: Tiernan O’Halloran (Buccaneers/Connacht); Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster), Stuart Olding ( /Ulster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster); Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) (capt), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster). Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Corintians/Connacht), Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster), Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht), Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Old crescent/Leinster), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Matt Healy (Lansdowne/Connacht).
Follow full coverage of South Africa v Ireland on Eamon Donoghue's live blog from 3pm on Saturday