Paddy Jackson starts for Ireland's first Test against South Africa

Paddy Jackson starts for Ireland's first Test against South Africa

By Simon Lewis, Cape Town

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has made four changes to the side which finished the Six Nations campaign for this Saturday's opening Test against South Africa.

With a number of frontline players missing through injury, including fly-half Johnny Sexton, full-back Rob Kearney and flanker Sean O'Brien, Schmidt has turned to Ulster's Paddy Jackson to pull the strings as Ireland bid to land a first victory over the Springboks on South African soil.

Jackson has been preferred to Ian Madigan as the replacement at out-half for Sexton, and will make his first start since last August in Ireland's opening World Cup warm-up game against Wales in Cardiff.

Provincial team-mate Jared Payne switches from centre to full-back with another Ulsterman Luke Marshall coming in at inside centre with Robbie Henshaw moving out one to the 13 jersey.

Leinster back row Jordi Murphy comes in at openside flanker while Iain Henderson returns to the second row to partner Devin Toner, Ultan Dillane named replacement lock.

Munster's CJ Stander continues at blindside for his sixth successive Test start since becoming a naturalised Irishman, the South African-born forward facing the country of his birth for the first time, although hooker Richardt Strauss, cousin of Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss, misses out. Rory Best captains with Sean Cronin preferred on the bench.

IRELAND (v South Africa, first Test): J Payne (Ulster); A Trimble (Ulster), R Henshaw (Connacht), L Marshall (Ulster), K Earls (Munster); P Jackson (Ulster), C Murray (Munster); J McGrath (Leinster), R Best (Ulster) – captain, M Ross (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), D Toner (Leinster); CJ Stander (Munster), J Murphy (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster).

Replacements: S Cronin (Leinster), F Bealham (Connacht), T Furlong (Leinster), U Dillane (Connacht), R Ruddock (Leinster), K Marmion (Connacht), I Madigan (Leinster), C Gilroy (Ulster).

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