South Africa

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While this may be a remodelled, more multi-racial Springboks which runs out into a virtual 46,000 sell-out at Newlands, with talk of a more expansive, ball-in-hand game – as former Irish forwards’ coach Gert Smal forecast when visiting the Irish team hotel during the week – some things will never change with a Springbok team.

Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town. Kick-off: 5pm local time/4pm Irish time. On TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 HD. First off, as a rule, a game of rugby(...)

Robbie Henshaw says outside centre offers more freedom to attack but that defensively it is a more demanding role. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

He wears it well. It’s hard to credit that Robbie Henshaw won’t turn 23 until Sunday, but he arrives in his first trek to South Africa with the highes(...)

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt during Thursday’s squad training at Westerfield School, Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho.

As a one-off assignment, and certainly as a series, Saturday’s first meeting with the Springboks on South African soil in a dozen years looks about as(...)

Jared Payne during Irish training at Westerfield School, Cape Town, ahead of the first test against South Africa. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Joe Schmidt admitted that the Irish team to face South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday is both a mixture of inexperience and experience, along with f(...)

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Necessity being the mother of invention, both Ireland and South Africa are likely to unveil much changed line-ups when Joe Schmidt and Allister Coetze(...)

The  Ireland squad  during a training session at Westerford High School below the Table Mountain  in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

It’s winter in Cape Town but these things are relative. A fully fit Irish squad conducted their first training session in the sumptuous surrounds of W(...)

Ronan O’Gara  tackles Schalk Burger  during the second Test of Ireland’s last tour to South Africa in 2004. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

A three-Test tour to South Africa at the end of a year-long World Cup season may be what World Rugby’s global Test itinerary demands, but it is not ex(...)

 Ian Madigan in action against Argentina in the Rugby World Cup when he was understudy to Johnny Sexton. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is an equal opportunities employer, so Ian Madigan and Paddy Jackson shared the outhalf duties in training sessions during (...)

 Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Simon Zebo and Matt Healy appear to be the leading contenders to replace the stricken Luke Fitzgerald tomorrow in the 32-man squad which departs for t(...)

Allister Coetzee was on Tuesday unveiled as the South Africa Springboks’ new rugby coach in Randburg, outside Johannesburg. Photograph: Reuters

Allister Coetzee was on Tuesday unveiled as the coach to lead South Africa to the Rugby World Cup in Japan, ending four months of speculation over wh(...)

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