Ireland defence coach Simon Easterby says his side won't be sucked in by mind games when it comes to their team selection for Saturday's crucial Rugby World Cup Pool B meeting with South Africa (live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player).
Head coach Andy Farrell will name his matchday squad on Thursday for the clash with the reigning world champions, who have gone with a forward-dominated selection for the weekend, picking seven forwards and just one back among the replacements.
There have been calls for the Irish management team to break from their own tradition and opt for a 6:2 split on the bench in order to deal with what will be a hugely physical South African pack.
However Easterby has hinted that they will be sticking with their usual 5:3 breakdown of forwards and backs, and is confident they can come to the game on their own terms.
"We haven't tinkered with that split before and there might be times where through injury or other reasons [that happens], but I'd say we’ll be fairly conventional in what we do at the weekend in terms of the split," the Ireland assistant said.
Ireland have played 44 Tests since Andy Farrell took over as head coach in 2020 and have gone with the standard 5:3 split in each of those.
While Easterby (above) says he understands why South Africa have loaded their bench up with extra forwards, it's a case of each to the their own.
"It's not something we’ve taken a huge amount of time looking at. It’s a talking point but at the end of the day, it’s their decision and strategy to go with that. Ours will be slightly different.
"They believe that’s the way they need to set themselves to beat us on Saturday, just like we’ll be playing the way we want to beat South Africa.
"It’s a talking point, I don’t think it changes anything for us, to be honest and it's something for you guys to have a discussion over. What will determine it, hindsight will allow people to say it was the right or the wrong thing to do."
All 33 members of the squad trained today, with Dan Sheehan and Finlay Bealham appearing to be on track to be available.
However, it looks like the game will come too soon for number 8 Jack Conan, who has been sidelined since picking up a foot injury on 5 August.
And although he appears to be on track to be available for the final pool game with Scotland on 7 October, it seems unlikely he'll be put straight back in against the Springboks, given the depth Ireland have at their disposal in the back row.
"Jack's probably the only one that's slightly behind in terms of being able to get himself right for the weekend.
"He's recovering well as the medics and conditioners get him up to speed and he's probably on track for where we thought he'd be at this stage. He's done really well, we're happy with his progress," Easterby added.
With two bonus-point wins in the bag already, and a two-week gap after this weekend's game until the final pool match against Scotland, Ireland know a on Saturday would leave them in a commanding position in Pool B.
Easterby says he's been pleased with how Ireland are building their form towards this weekend's crunch game in Paris.
"I think everyone knows that this game was always going to be the big game that we had in the first three rounds. We built up nicely through Romania and Tonga, we've ironed out some things in our attack, and the same defensively, we were tested way more against Tonga.
"I think we always knew that this was going to be the pivotal game leading up to Scotland two weeks after.
"We're really confident and trust in what we've been doing, not just recently but in the last year or a half or two years. This is what we've been building towards."
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Watch live coverage of Ireland v South Africa (Saturday, 8pm) on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1, and follow live updates on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app.