Alan Quinlan picks his Ireland XV to tackle the Springboks

Alan Quinlan picks his Ireland XV to tackle the Springboks

Munster and Ireland legend Alan Quinlan has selected his Ireland starting lineup to face South Africa on 5 November.

It's been six years since Ireland faced off against the Springboks, with a then Joe Schmidt-coached side claiming an emphatic 38-3 victory.

The result famously spurred Rassie Erasmus to return to South Africa and take over the side leading them to Rugby World Cup glory.

With the World champions returning to Dublin this November, Alan Quinlan was asked who he would pick to face the Boks.

Quinlan conceded that there 'may be some tweaks or changes for Fiji and maybe even Australia', but he believes that Ireland need to start as strong as possible.

He added that nearly the whole team picks itself, with the former Ireland international selecting the same pack that beat the All Blacks in the Series decider in July.

That pack is Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, and Caelan Doris.

Quinlan did mention that there are doubts over some of the players' fitness. But if all were rearing to go, those would be his starters. 

Ahead of Leinster's clash with Munster this weekend, Leo Cullen did provide an injury update that stated that Doris came through the game against Connacht with no issues following his return from the Graduated Return to Play Protocols.

However, Jack Conan (eye), James Ryan (knee) and Josh van der Flier (ankle) required further assessments. All the players mentioned have been included in the squad for the Autumn Nations Series, but it is unclear if they will all be fit for the fixtures.

"It's going to be a physical game [against the Springboks], but those are the ones who have really performed", Quinlan commented on the pack before saying that he would have Kieran Treadwell on the bench after he impressed in New Zealand.

Moving onto the back, he moved quickly to select Jamison Gibson-Park and Jonathan Sexton as his starting halfbacks with Joey Carbery on the bench. Craig Casey was his reserve scrumhalf, but Quinlan conceded that Conor Murray might be a better fit against the Springboks, depending on how they wanted to finish the game. 

With Bundee Aki out through suspension, Quinlan said that he thought about Stuart McCloskey in the centres and added that he is 'delighted' that the Ulsterman was in the squad.

However, he could not ignore the combination of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose.  

"Henshaw and Ringrose know each other inside out, and they are quality internationals, so that's who I'd be starting in the centres," he said.

Winger James Lowe started the series-deciding test match against New Zealand but missed out on the squad through injury.

This means that Andy Farrell will need to make at least one change to his starting back three. The Ireland boss has several options in the Ulster trio of Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, Jacob Stockdale, and the uncapped Munster flyer Calvin Nash. The other winger options are Leinster's Jimmy O'Brien and Connacht's Mack Hansen.

For Quinlan, retaining Hugo Keenan and Mack Hansen in the starting XV was a straightforward call, while he has opted for Robert Baloucoune to fill Lowe's vacancy.

"I'm a fan of Baloucoune", he admitted.

"There is obviously merits to put Jacob Stockdale back in there... after starting the season well... but I love Baloucoune when he plays, I think he is such a balanced runner, he is so quick, and he is scoring tries."

Alan Quinlan's Ireland team to face South Africa

1. Andrew Porter 
2. Dan Sheehan
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. James Ryan
5. Tadhg Beirne
6. Peter O'Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris
9. Jamison Gibson-Park
10. Jonathan Sexton
11. Mack Hansen
12. Robbie Henshaw
13. Garry Ringrose
14. Robert Baloucoune
15. Hugo Keenan 

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