Rookie centres for Ireland

Inexperienced duo Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw will start in the midfield for Ireland against the Springboks in Dublin.

There is no place for veteran centre Gordon D'Arcy, who is believed to be still suffering with a groin injury that he picked up while playing for Leinster in the European Champions Cup last month. Coach Joe Schmidt has instead gone with the thrice-capped Henshaw and debutant Payne, as Ireland seek their first win over the Boks since 2009.

Another player to miss out is hooker Rory Best, who was ruled out with a calf strain on Wednesday. His place in the front row will be taken by Sean Cronin, while Mike Ross has shaken off a groin strain to start at tighthead, with Jack McGrath packing down on the loosehead side.

With Sean O'Brien still out through injury, Ireland enter the match against the Boks with the same loose trio that did duty in the final Six Nations match against France.

Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton will start as the preferred halfback combination, while Tommy Bowe will play his first Test since last year's November internationals.

Ireland – 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Paul O’Connell (c), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Subs: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Felix Jones.

Preview: Ireland vs Springboks

Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images