Bit of a shock, but Jonathan Sexton gets the nod at Out-half over Ronan O'Gara for Ireland's clash with South Africa at Croke Park on Saturday. In a surprise move by coach Declan Kidney, Sexton has seized the number 10 jersey from O'Gara as reward for his outstanding display in Saturday's 41-6 victory over Fiji.
To be fair, Sexton has been the form fly half in Ireland this season with O'Gara failing to find any real decent run of form since returning from the Lions Tour. It is a bold selection that rewards the 24-year-old's sparkling form since being thrust onto centre stage during the latter rounds of Leinster's march to their first Heineken Cup crown last season.
Elsewhere Keith Earls comes in on the Wing for the injured Luke Fitzgerald. Other than that its the same team that lined out in the drawn match with Austrailia. With Denis Leamy back on the bench after what I thought looked like a seasoned ending injury against Fiji.
The South Africans are the World Cup & Tri Nations champions and are formidable opposition, however they have been hit by a bit of an injury crisis. Fullback Zane Kirchner (knee), centre Adi Jacobs (ankle), scrum-half Fourie du Preez (hand), lock Bakkies Botha (back), hooker Bismarck du Plessis (ribs) and backrow forward Schalk Burger (ribs) are all on the treatment table. This has been a trying tour for the Springboks as they have already been beaten by France and Guinness Premiership opposition in Leicester & London South Africa... oh i mean Saracens. Having said that I still believe it will be a fairly brutal encounter on Saturday & a fine test of this Irish side.
I'll put my head on the line and predict Ireland to win by 3 points.