Ireland made it to the history books in the summer with their first win on New Zealand soil to tie the series 1-1. The following week they went on to achieve a back-to-back victories which is unheard of when playing on the Kiwis on their own turf. Before the All Blacks first loss to Ireland, their home record stood W64-D3-L2 and their two losses against South Africa (2008) and the British and Irish Lions (2017) were by minimal margins of two and three points respectively.
The Springboks’ finished runners-up in the Rugby Championships and they were only one point off the winners, New Zealand. They won four of their six games in the tournament and their losses came against the Kiwis and the Wallabies. Their 2022 record coming into the Autumn Internationals is W6-L3, their additional loss was a narrow 13-12 game against Wales on home soil in a series they ultimately won.
Ireland have only lost three of their ten games played in 2022, which came against France in the Six Nations, New Zealand and the Māori All Blacks. Although the latter wasn’t a true loss because they weren’t playing anything close to a full-strength side and was a warmup game for the three test series with New Zealand.
The fact that both teams are in good form coming into this game, it makes it hard to back any one team on the handicap but with Ireland still riding high on their series win against New Zealand we would expect them to carry on their good form.
Ireland –4 Handicap
If we were to back Ireland on the handicap at -4 we can see that they have won by five or more points in all of their six wins this year against top tier opponents and South Africa have lost two of their three by more than five points.
Ireland have set out a strong team to face the Springboks with Johnny Sexton captaining the side and his fellow distributor Conor Murray will reach a career milestone of 100 caps on Saturday. Garry Ringrose and Robert Henshaw fill the centre positions with Robert Baloucoune and Mack Hansen on either side.
South Africa have all their big hitters in with Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe just to name a few. Handre Pollard will not be available for selection for this one after picking up an injury with the Leicester Tigers last month, and that 9-10 partnership may just be where Ireland take control of this one.
IRELAND –4 HANDICAP
Ireland v Springboks Teams
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