Ireland vs South Africa: kick-off time, TV channel, team news

All you need to know ahead of Saturday’s crunch Autumn Nations Series clash at the Aviva


For the first time since 2017, Ireland face up to the Springboks. On that November day at the Aviva, Joe Schmidt’s side hammered their visitors 38-3. Now, South Africa are world champions after their 2019 success in Japan, but Ireland are the world’s number one-ranked side thanks largely to the summer’s historic series win over the All Blacks.

Given that moniker, ‘World number one vs world champions’, this truly is the clash of the entire Autumn Nations Series.

Where & When?


Saturday, November 5th. 5.30pm kick-off at the Aviva Stadium.

Can I watch?

Most certainly. Virgin Media is the free-to-air option (coverage starts at 4.30pm). For those who have it, Amazon Prime will also be broadcasting the game.

Can I go?

Unsurprisingly, given the marquee nature of the clash, tickets are like gold dust. It’s a complete sell-out at the Aviva.

Team News

Ireland make three changes from the side that beat New Zealand in the third Test last July, three of them enforced. With Bundee Aki suspended and Garry Ringrose fit again and in form for Leinster, the latter comes into the side at 13 while Robbie Henshaw shifts back to 12. On the wing, James Lowe’s injury opens the door for Robert Baloucoune while Mack Hansen takes the left-wing slot.

The other change is a starting role for Conor Murray who earns his 100th cap. Jamison Gibson-Park, yet to play this season for Leinster due to injury, is on the bench. Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey also earns a replacement role as his strong start to the season is rewarded.

South Africa named their 23 for the game on Tuesday. They’re at near full-strength, only missing Lukhanyo Am through injury as Jesse Kriel starts in the centre. Cheslin Kolbe gets the nod at fullback while Damian Willemse will steer the ship at 10; the Stormers man is seen as an excellent footballing talent though he probably lacks the kicking security of a Handre Pollard.

The one surprise, if you can call it that really given how South Africa love to load their bench with stellar talent, is that Faf de Klerk is only among the replacements; Jaden Hendrikse starts at scrumhalf.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan; Robert Baloucoune, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Mack Hansen; Johnny Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong; Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Stuart McCloskey.

South Africa: Cheslin Kolbe; Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Damian Willemse, Jaden Hendrikse; Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe; Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager; Siya Kolisi (captain), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jasper Wiese.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Deon Fourie, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist