Payne gets Ireland debut against South Africa
DUBLIN (AP) — Jared Payne will make his debut for Ireland in Saturday’s test match against South Africa, partnering Robbie Henshaw in a new-look center partnership brought about by the demise of the famed Brian O’Driscoll-Gordon D’Arcy combination.
With O’Driscoll retired and D’Arcy injured, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt selected a midfield with a combined test total of three caps for the first match of the team’s autumn internationals.
Henshaw has moved to inside center to accommodate Payne.
Lions winger Tommy Bowe is back for Ireland for the first time in a year and hooker Richardt Strauss is in line for his first international appearance since June 2013 — against the country of his birth.
Strauss has fought back from heart surgery and then a serious hamstring injury.
Ireland: Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Chris Henry, Peter O’Mahony, Paul O’Connell (captain), Devin Toner, Mike Ross, Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath. Reserves: Richardt Strauss, Dave Kilcoyne, Rodney Ah You, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Felix Jones.