Andy Farrell not ruling any of Ireland’s injured stars out of South Africa clash

Ireland return to action against world champions South Africa.
Andy Farrell not ruling any of Ireland’s injured stars out of South Africa clash

By PA Sport Staff

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says that none of his squad’s injured players have been ruled out of next week’s Autumn Nations Series opener against world champions South Africa.

The newly-installed world number one team return to Test match business when the Springboks arrive in Dublin on November 5th.

It will be Ireland’s first game since an historic Test series-clinching victory over New Zealand in Wellington just over three months ago.

Ireland also face Fiji and Australia during their autumn schedule, with a number of players at varying stages of recovery.

Full-back Hugo Keenan, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park and prop Tadhg Furlong are among those with injuries, although Keenan and Gibson-Park will be reintegrated to training this week alongside the likes of Jacob Stockdale and Tadhg Beirne.

Ulster’s national squad contingent of Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Rob Herring, Michael Lowry, Stuart McCloskey, Tom O’Toole, Nick Timoney and Kieran Treadwell, meanwhile, returned from South Africa on Monday night.

The Irish Rugby Football Union said “they will be managed over the coming days” following recent illness issues experienced by the Ulster squad while in South Africa for United Rugby Championship games.

“Some players don’t need that much game time. Some players are able to just hit it straight from the word go, some players need five or six games to hit the ground running,” Farrell told reporters on Tuesday.

“It’s up to us to assess that. We are not a massive playing group as well, so needs must at times.

“Certainly, nobody is ruled out at this stage.”

Ireland have beaten South Africa six times in the countries’ last 10 meetings but Farrell is braced for the challenge that awaits.

 

“They have got a unique way of playing and they are all on the same page – that’s their strength, isn’t it?” he added.

“They know their point of difference and go after it hard and have been very successful in doing that.

“To get back up to speed for that first game and be at our best is where we want to be and I think we all know it is where we have to be coming up against a good team like South Africa.”

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