'Beating the Boks will take a big performance' says O'Connell

'Beating the Boks will take a big performance' says O'Connell

Ireland's Paul O'Connell has claimed that the Irish rugby team will need a 'big performance' in Paris this weekend if they are to take down the reigning world champions, South Africa. 

Ireland heads into the match ranked number one in the world, while South Africa, the current World Cup holders, are in excellent form. There are several different narratives at play in this massive pool decider.

It's clear that Andy Farrell's side will not take the Springboks lightly in the contest, but most people have backed Jacques Nienaber's troops to come out on top.

The winner of the match will most likely top the group and face New Zealand in the quarter-finals, so there is a lot at stake for Ireland this Saturday.

Ireland heads into the game with 15 successive victories, including the win against the Boks in Dublin last November, so there will be an air of confidence around the Irish side without it becoming outlandish.

However, O'Connell believes that Ireland will have to be on top form if they are to get another win over the Boks in Paris this weekend.

"Ah, it's going to take a big performance for sure," he said on Friday.

"They're an excellent side, they've been together a long time as a group, together a long time as a coaching group as well, and they obviously understand how they want to play and how they want to deal with certain situations in the game.

"I think they've developed their game since the last World Cup and developed their game a lot since last Autumn in particular. So our boys are under no doubt about how big a challenge it is.

"They obviously present a big physical challenge. I think we present a big physical challenge, and they present a real technical challenge as well. They're a very smart side, and that's one of the things you probably admire most about them, is the smarts they can bring along with their physicality.

"So I think it's a strength of our side as well, so when we speak about this Irish team and what this Irish team stands for, I think they've got to bring everything they've brought to the big occasions they've been in the last few years."

The forwards coach has also confirmed that Ireland's squad is fully fit and that there are now injuries to worry about.

Ireland prop Finlay Bealham has been cleared to face the reigning world champions, South Africa, after passing his head injury assessments. Jack Conan is also training on the grass.

"Yeah, everyone trained today," said the former Munster lock. "No problems. We had 33 out training, and it was great to have them all out there."

Match Details:

  • Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023
  • Venue: Stade de France, Paris
  • Kick-off: 8:00 pm (9:00 pm local)
  • Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
  • TV Coverage: Live on ITV (UK) and RTÉ (ROI)