Ireland committed to Test decider victory against South Africa

Joe Schmidt has yet to decide whether to stay on as Ireland coach beyond the end of the 2017 Six Nations campaign
Joe Schmidt has yet to decide whether to stay on as Ireland coach beyond the end of the 2017 Six Nations campaign
South Africa v Ireland
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth Date: Saturday, 25 June Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Coverage: Live text commentary and report on BBC Sport website

Joe Schmidt is confident Ireland will do him proud in Saturday's third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

The coach believes his much-changed team will rise to the challenge of Saturday's Test series decider.

Ireland recorded a first ever away win over the Springboks in the first Test but conceded a 16-point lead in last week's second Test to miss out on a historic series victory.

"I'm utterly confident they'll make me and themselves proud," said Schmidt.

Irish mix it up

The New Zealander has made six personnel changes and one positional switch to his starting XV as Ireland bring their long season to a close with a 17th and final game.

Jared Payne has been ruled out with a calf injury but Keith Earls, Mike Ross and Jordi Murphy have been recalled and CJ Stander is back after serving a one-match ban.

Payne's injury means a first start for Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran, while Ulster pair Stuart Olding and Luke Marshall partner up in the centre.

The absence of Payne and Robbie Henshaw, who departed the tour with a knee injury, is a big blow to Schmidt, but he insists he has full confidence in his players.

"I've no doubt that they'll be no different than it has been in the last two Tests," he said.

"Yes, it's been a long season, people are tired and that's going to maybe detract from people being at the their optimum.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt led the team to back-to-back Six Nations Championships in 2014 and 2015.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt led the team to back-to-back Six Nations Championships in 2014 and 2015.

"But, at the same time, I don't think too many people will detect that because what they don't have in fresh reserves of energy, they'll make up for in the full commitment they make to doing the job that they do."

Schmidt has said he will decide whether to remain as Ireland coach until the 2019 Rugby World Cup after the completion of the tour. His present contract runs until the summer of 2017.

South Africa have made two changes to their starting XV as they look to follow up last weekend's thrilling 32-26 win at Ellis Park by claiming a series-clinching victory.

Ruan Combrinck and Warren Whiteley come in for Lwazi Mvovo and the injured Duane Vermeulen.

Ireland: T O'Halloran; A Trimble, L Marshall, S Olding, K Earls; P Jackson, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross; I Henderson, D Toner; CJ Stander, J Murphy, J Heaslip.

Replacements: S Cronin, F Bealham, T Furlong, U Dillane, R Ruddock, E Reddan, I Madigan, M Healy.

South Africa: W le Roux; R Combrinck, L Mapoe, D de Allende, JP Pietersen; E Jantjes, F du Klerk; T Mtawarira, A Strauss (capt), F Malherbe, E Etzebeth, P-S du Toit; F Louw, S Kolisi, W Whiteley.

Replacements: B Mbonambi, S Kitshoff, J Redelinghuys, F Mostert, J Kriel, R Paige, M Steyn, L Mvovo.

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