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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ed Elliot

Jamison Gibson-Park in starting XV for Ireland’s showdown with South Africa

PA Wire

Scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park has been recalled in the only change to Ireland’s starting XV for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup showdown with reigning champions South Africa in Paris.

Gibson-Park, who sat out his side’s 59-16 win over Tonga, will resume his half-back partnership with captain Johnny Sexton at Stade de France, with Conor Murray dropping to the bench.

Hooker Dan Sheehan is in line for his first appearance since suffering a foot injury in last month’s warm-up win over England after being named among the replacements.

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has stuck with a five-three split of forwards and backs on the bench for the standout fixture in Pool B, despite the Springboks opting for a bold seven-one selection.

Prop Finlay Bealham is among those in reserve after satisfying head injury assessments following his early withdrawal last weekend.

Centre Bundee Aki, the tournament’s leading try scorer with four after doubles against Romania and Tonga, will win his 50th Ireland cap, while flanker Peter O’Mahony will make his 100th Test appearance, including one for the British and Irish Lions.

The world’s top-ranked nation have the chance to secure a quarter-final spot as they go in search of a 16th consecutive win, a run which includes a 19-16 Dublin success over South Africa in November.

Hooker Ronan Kelleher and props Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong continue in an all-Leinster front row, ahead of locks Tadhg Beirne and James Ryan.

O’Mahony is again joined in the back row by number eight Caelan Doris and reigning world player of the year Josh van der Flier.

Garry Ringrose and the in-form Aki link up in midfield, with full-back Hugo Keenan in a familiar back three alongside wings Mack Hansen and James Lowe.

Sheehan, Bealham and Murray are joined on the bench by Dave Kilcoyne, Iain Henderson, Ryan Baird, Jack Crowley and Robbie Henshaw.

Rob Herring, Craig Casey and Ross Byrne drop out of the matchday 23.

Ireland team: H Keenan (Leinster); M Hansen (Connacht), G Ringrose (Leinster), B Aki (Connacht), J Lowe (Leinster); J Sexton (Leinster, capt), J Gibson-Park (Leinster); A Porter (Leinster), R Kelleher (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), T Beirne (Munster), J Ryan (Leinster), P O’Mahony (Munster), J Van der Flier (Leinster), C Doris (Leinster).

Replacements: D Sheehan (Leinster), D Kilcoyne (Munster), F Bealham (Connacht), I Henderson (Ulster), R Baird (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), J Crowley (Munster), R Henshaw (Leinster).

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