Shropshire Star

Caelan Doris to captain Ireland against South Africa while Bundee Aki misses out

Head coach Andy Farrell has made four personnel changes following the first-Test defeat.


Caelan Doris will captain an Ireland team missing influential centre Bundee Aki for Saturday’s second Test against world champions South Africa in Durban.

Aki sustained a shoulder issue during last weekend’s 27-20 loss in Pretoria but looked set to feature in the series finale after Andy Farrell’s full 35-man squad trained on Wednesday.

Head coach Farrell, who will provide an update on the Connacht player at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, has made four personnel changes in total, including dropping regular skipper Peter O’Mahony to the bench.

Tadhg Beirne switches from the second row to replace O’Mahony at blindside flanker, resulting in a recall for lock James Ryan, while Garry Ringrose, hooker Ronan Kelleher and scrum-half Conor Murray come in for Aki and injured pair Dan Sheehan and Craig Casey.

With O’Mahony among the replacements, Leinster number eight Doris will lead Ireland for the second time, having first done so in the 36-0 Guinness Six Nations win over Italy in February.

Ulster duo Rob Herring and Stuart McCloskey and Connacht scrum-half Caolin Blade have been added to Farrell’s bench.

Aki’s absence is a big blow to Ireland. The New Zealand-born 34-year-old starred at last year’s Rugby World Cup and had started every major game for his adopted country during the past 17 months.

Garry Ringrose will make his first international start since last year's Rugby World Cup in France
Garry Ringrose will make his first international start since last year’s Rugby World Cup in France (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ringrose, who missed most of this year’s triumphant Six Nations campaign through injury, comes in for his first Test start since Ireland’s 28-24 World Cup quarter-final loss to New Zealand in October.

The 29-year-old will start at outside centre, with Leinster team-mate Robbie Henshaw switching to inside centre in place of Aki.

Ireland team: J Osborne (Leinster); C Nash (Munster), G Ringrose (Leinster), R Henshaw (Leinster), J Lowe (Leinster); J Crowley (Munster), C Murray (Munster); A Porter (Leinster), R Kelleher (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), J McCarthy (Leinster), J Ryan (Leinster), T Beirne (Munster), J van der Flier (Leinster), C Doris (Leinster, capt).

Replacements: R Herring (Ulster), C Healy (Leinster), F Bealham (Connacht),  R Baird (Leinster), P O’Mahony (Munster), C Blade (Connacht), C Frawley (Leinster), S McCloskey (Ulster).

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