Strauss to make debut against Boks

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iol spt nov8 Richardt Strauss Lee Warren FILE PHOTO: South Africa-born Richardt Strauss is set to make his Ireland debut against the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday. Photo by Lee Warren / Gallo Images

Dublin – South Africa-born Richardt Strauss is set to make his Ireland debut against the Springboks in Dublin on Saturday after being given a place in coach Declan Kidney's injury-hit starting XV.

It means the one family will be providing both hookers for this weekend's match at Lansdowne Road, with the 26-year-old Strauss's cousin, Adriaan Strauss, starting in the Springboks' No 2 shirt.

Richardt Strauss, who plays his club rugby for European champions Leinster, qualified for Ireland after completing a three-year residency period.

He arrived in Ireland as a 23-year-old, having been a member of the South Africa team that won the Under-19 World Cup in 2005.

An injury to Rory Best has now given Pretoria-born former Cheetahs forward Strauss, never capped at full Test level by the Springboks, his chance to make an international debut for his adopted country.

Leinster No 8 Jamie Heaslip will captain Ireland for the first time in the injury-enforced absence of centre Brian O'Driscoll, lock Paul O'Connell and Best, all of whom have previously skippered the side.

Full-back Rob Kearney and back-row Stephen Ferris are among the other players on Ireland's lengthy injury list.

Kidney's team shows eight changes in all from the side thrashed 60-0 last time out by world champions New Zealand in Hamilton in June.

Prop Cian Healy packs down alongside Strauss in a front-row also featuring Mike Ross while Connact's Mike McCarthy comes in for Dan Tuohy at lock.

A re-shaped back-row sees Heaslip leading the side from No 8

with Peter O'Mahony, who started against the All Blacks in the position, moving across to blindside flanker. Chris Henry completes the loose forward trio.

Half-backs Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton retain their places but in the centres Kidney has opted for a new combination in Gordon D'Arcy and Keith Earls.

Meanwhile Simon Zebo is line for his first start at full-back with Tommy Bowe, winning his 50th cap, and Andrew Trimble the two wings,

Among the replacements, forwards David Kilcoyne, Michael Bent and Iain Henderson will make their Test debuts should they be called off the bench.

Ireland (15-1)

Simon Zebo; Tommy Bowe, Keith Earls, Gordon D'Arcy, Andrew Trimble; Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip (capt), Chris Henry, Peter O'Mahony; Mike McCarthy, Donnacha Ryan; Mike Ross, Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy

Replacements: Sean Cronin, David Kilcoyne, Michael Bent, Donncha O'Callaghan, Iain Henderson, Eoin Reddan, Ronan O'Gara, Fergus McFadden – Sapa-AFP

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