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Eddie O'Sullivan: South Af...
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Eddie O'Sullivan: South Africa aren't in a great place at the moment

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

14:37 10 Nov 2017

Former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan believes Joe Schmidt's side should have enough to overcome a struggling South Africa at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. 

O'Sullivan joined Friday's Off the Ball:AM to preview Ireland's opening match of the November internationals and speaking to Adrian Barry, he said: "It's a tough start alright, South Africa, but we're ranked above them in the world. They're not in a great place at the moment.

"They had a disastrous year in 2016 under Coetzee. In fact his first game he lost to Ireland in that summer tour. They have steadied the ship this year but they're probably hanging their hat on the way that they played against France when France were down there. 

"But, I think France on a summer tour - you can never judge. I don't think they're that vested in them but South Africa did play well. They played an expansive brand of rugby which is what they're trying to do. They are trying to change the way they play but I think they had a rough patch in the Rugby Championship - their record is lost two, won two, drew two which is kind of an unusual one but probably their worst day was that 50 point drubbing by the All Blacks. 

"So, they're in a place where they're not quite sure where they're at...their autumn tour will be a benchmark for them before they go back to South Africa. They have to play Ireland, Wales, England and Italy. If they don't beat England, nobody would lose much sleep but they do need to beat Ireland and Wales so there is a lot of pressure on them."

Looking ahead to the where he believes the match will be decided, the former USA coach said: "I think we might come under pressure at the line-out - they have that extra bit of height in the back-row. 

"Du Toit, even though he's playing at seven, he's 6 (foot), 6 and a half - two metres tall so he could cause us problems. Although we have Peter O'Mahony, our line-out will have to be on its game. Having said that, we always know we can go to Devin Toner in a pinch because he's so tall.

"So I think the set-piece will be a good contest. I think if one team dominates the set piece - that could be the turning point," he added.

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