South Africa coach Allister Coetzee expects something different when the sides meet in tomorrow’s final Test in Port Elizabeth.
Three days after inviting Joe Schmidt’s side to “have a go” at his Springboks in the series decider at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Coetzee said his players would be prepared for anything the Irish threw at them.
A week on from levelling the series with a come-from-behind 32-26 win at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Coetzee has made just two changes to his starting XV, despite a massive impact from the bench on that comeback from 26-10 down at the hour mark.
Ruan Combrinck, try scorer and man of the match in his 40-minute turn off the bench, is promoted ahead of Lwazi Mvovo on the right wing while injury to No.8 Duane Vermeulen has handed Warren Whiteley the chance to to reprise his try-scoring role as a replacement from the start.
Coetzee believes the inclusion of powerhouse Combrinck will remove Ireland’s kicking tactic on his side of the pitch and force the tourists to change their game.
“It’s been noted that Ireland have been kicking down that left touchline and that left-hand side,” Coetzee said. “So Combrinck gives you that right-footed opportunity and secondly he brings us an additional goalkicker from 50 metres out. On top of all that I think he’s shown great form from last week.” He added: “I’m sure there will be something new from the Irish. They have quite a clever coaching team but we are prepared.
“Ireland might be looking at regaining possession much more than just kicking it deep, going nice and short from the kick-off to contest that, and territory is the game. So that will probably be one of the things to be on the look-out for, is to make sure from kick-offs we cover the whole field nicely.
“I also think they will have to have a go more than in the previous two Tests and keep ball in hand. That’s what we’re expecting this weekend, and to still continue to turn us. It’s going to be true test in the sense that they have a new centre combination so they will want to get the ball into Trimble’s hands more than the previous two. But we’ve got to make sure that we cover all areas. No defensive structure is watertight so there will always be space on the field. But we have a good feel of what to expect.”
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