South Africa: Springboks unchanged for Ireland contest

Francois Hougaard in action in South Africa's win over New Zealand last month
Francois Hougaard remains at scrum-half with Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar ruled out by injury
Autumn international: Ireland v South Africa
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 8 November 2014 Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on 5 live, Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has named an unchanged starting XV from the side that beat New Zealand last month for Saturday's game against Ireland.

The only alteration to the matchday 23 from the Johannesburg match is Coenie Oosthuizen replacing injured prop Marcel van der Merwe on the bench.

Francois Hougaard remains at scrum-half with Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar ruled out by injury.

South Africa handed New Zealand their first defeat in two years on 4 October.

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Springboks aim to play with ball in hand against Ireland

Meyer said he was pleased to be able to select the same starting line-up for successive internationals.

"It's only the fifth time in what will be the 34th Test since I was appointed as Springbok coach that we've been able to select an unchanged starting line-up," he said.

"In this day and age, not making changes to teams is pretty much unheard of, but this is a great position we're in.

"However, we need to make it count against a very tough Irish side on Saturday."

South Africa's side is hugely experienced with 672 caps [289 in the backline and 383 in the forwards], plus a further 316 on the bench.

South Africa's tour matches
OppositionDate
IrelandSaturday, 8 November, Aviva Stadium
EnglandSaturday, 15 November, Twickenham
ItalySaturday, 22 November, Stadio Flaminio, Rome
WalesSaturday, 29 November, Millennium Stadium

Three players alone have more than 100 caps each in wing Bryan Habana, captain and centre Jean de Villiers and lock Victor Matfield.

South Africa and Ireland have played each other 21 times since their inaugural game in 1906, with the Springboks winning 16, losing four and one match drawn.

In their last meeting in Dublin in November 2012, South Africa won 16-12.

Ireland's last success against the Springboks was a 15-10 win at Dublin's Croke Park in 2009, a match that took place while Lansdowne Road was being redeveloped.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is scheduled to name his side on Thursday.

This weekend's match is the first of a tour in which the Springboks will also play 2015 World Cup hosts England, as well as Italy and Wales.

South Africa: Willie le Roux; Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers (capt), Bryan Habana; Handre Pollard, Francois Hougaard; Duane Vermeulen, Teboho Mohoje, Marcell Coetzee; Victor Matfield, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen

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