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Andrew Trimble is relishing the chance to become history boys

By Andrew Baldock

Published 23/06/2016

Strong focus: Andrew Trimble believes Ireland can still claim the series victory
Strong focus: Andrew Trimble believes Ireland can still claim the series victory

Andrew Trimble has urged his Ireland team-mates to focus on the opportunity of a first ever series win in South Africa rather than dwelling on last weekend's disappointment in Johannesburg.

Ireland were 20 minutes away from an historic series win at Ellis Park, but let a 16-point lead slip to lose the second Test to South Africa and set up a decider in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The tourists have been recovering from the bruising nature of the 32-26 defeat as they enter the final leg of their season in the seaside city on South Africa's Eastern Cape but the Ulster winger has not lost sight of the fact that the scenario remains the same a week on.

"It's important that we get some perspective back and just remember that we still have a great opportunity to create a bit of history," Trimble said.

"We're more aware now than we ever with how tough it's going to be, how physical they are, how fast South Africa are.

"Whenever they click, they're very, very difficult to stop. We'll have to look at a few things to figure out how to stop that.

"We're aware that we can be a quality side and win Test matches. We can come to the southern hemisphere and win games, but there's no point in us talking about that, we need to prove that and back that talk up.

"We did that in Newlands, we showed an awful lot of character and dug in. We played some really good rugby that we're really proud of, but to be taken seriously, you need to back that up and we didn't do that at the weekend.

"We want to become a side that backs it up and we haven't backed it up yet."

The problem for Ireland will be summoning one last effort in their 17th and final Test match of a long season.

"We're pretty knackered," Trimble said. "It was a tough battle out there, very physical and very fast. The first half especially, a lot of running down my side.

"In the second half, we were just taking a lot of heat and a lot of punishment.

"Physically, we were by a long way, second best during that second half. We didn't win any collisions and a few boys are still feeling a few of those hits today so we're licking our wounds a little bit but we're looking forward to getting back out there and putting a few of those wrongs right."

Ireland found themselves off the pace in the final quarter as the South Africans went through the gears and played their power-game and Trimble wants to see his team match their hosts in the collisions.

CJ Stander is set to return to the Ireland starting XV as Joe Schmidt sweats on Jared Payne's availability. The head coach is hoping that a rest day was enough to see Payne recover sufficiently to start against the Springboks. The construction of Schmidt's backline depends on Payne's fitness, with Tiernan O'Halloran ready to step in at full-back if he doesn't make it.

O'Halloran could also start if Payne is switched to outside centre in Robbie Henshaw's absence.

If Payne doesn't make it, Luke Marshall could be paired with Stuart Olding, although Keith Earls could return at centre.

Mike Ross is expected to be restored to the front-row, while Stander's return should see Iain Henderson revert to the second-row. Jordi Murphy could also feature.

Both sides are named today, with South Africa coping without Duane Vermeulen, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager and Patrick Lambie.

  • South Africa v Ireland: Third Test: Port Elizabeth, Saturday, 4.00pm

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