South Africa vs Ireland Predictions: Boks could go big in Pretoria

 | Friday 5th July 2024, 13:15pm

Friday 5th July 2024, 13:15pm

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World champions South Africa host Ireland at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (16:00, live on Sky Sports) in the first of two Tests as they look to punish a touring side missing two big names.

Here's my South Africa vs Ireland predictions for your consideration.

South Africa vs Ireland Tips

  • South Africa to win by over 12 points @ 7/5
  • Cheslin Kolbe - Anytime Scorer @ 4/5

South Africa vs Ireland Odds

South Africa are 4/11 to win in 80 minutes, with Ireland available at 23/10 - while the tie is a 20/1 chance.

The handicap is -8 in the Springboks' favour (5/6) and after winning 13-8 when the pair met at last year's World Cup, Ireland are 9/1 to triumph by 1-5 points.

Team News

South Africa have favoured experience with their selection for Saturday, with 12 of the team that started last year's World Cup final named in the starting team.

Replacements Gerhard Steenekamp (prop), Salmaan Moerat (lock) and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (utility back) are the only players who didn't feature at last year's tournament in France.

With Keenan away, Farrell has created a stir by naming the uncapped Jamie Osborne at full-back.

Osborne has enjoyed a strong season with Leinster but played predominantly in the centres and hasn't worn the 15 shirt since November 2022.

The other standout selection is scrum-half Craig Casey's inclusion in place of the injured Gibson-Park. The diminutive Munster man will be targetted by a Bok back-row led by returning skipper Siya Kolisi.

South Africa to win by over 12 points @ 7/5

South Africa's win over Wales provided a glimpse into the future. However, it could be a familiar false dawn in which they threaten to start playing with more adventure before honing in on a more pragmatic gameplan come 2027.

They have reverted to type for Saturday's match and with the ball travelling further at altitude, fly-half Handre Pollard will use the conditions to pile the pressure on Osborne.

Former Bulls man Pollard previously played his club rugby at Loftus so will have the sell-out crowd behind him at a ground that several of Ireland's team have bitter recent memories of.

Leinster were outmuscled in last month's 25-20 URC semi-final defeat, and the Boks will aim to hit the visiting scrum and pose more questions about whether the Irish squad has the physicality to consistently beat the best.

They beat South Africa at the World Cup, but it was the Springboks that prevailed overall. With Ireland's key absentees, the Boks could go big and run out emphatic winners.

South Africa to beat Ireland by over 12 points at 7-5

Cheslin Kolbe - Anytime Scorer @ 4/5

Key to the Boks' kicking game will be Cheslin Kolbe, who will be among the first to the scene should Osborne spill the ball.

The 30-year-old was a doubt coming into the series due to a knee injury but has been declared fit and should be relatively fresh after managing his minutes playing club rugby in Japan.

Kolbe will look to prove he deserves the shirt after seeing the resurgent Makazole Mapimpi take his chance with a score against the Welsh and crossing the whitewash would help.

Kolbe scored his country's only try in the World Cup pool game with Ireland and he is a player to watch again.

Cheslin Kolbe to score anytime in South Africa vs Ireland at 4-5

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