Schmidt backs Jackson to take advantage of recall


Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has backed Paddy Jackson to impress as he fills in for injured Johnny Sexton after recalling the fly-half for the first Test against South Africa.

Ulster's Jackson has been selected ahead of Ian Madigan for the Newlands clash and will make his first start in almost a year, with Luke Marshall also recalled.

Schmidt explained that Jackson deserves the opportunity to play in Cape Town due to the patience he has shown.

"He's slotted in really well," Schmidt said. "I think that he's bided his time, he's been in camp a lot when Johnny's been in camp so he's seen Johnny kind of dictating the game, he has been the conductor of the orchestra and we're confident that Paddy can step up and do a similar job.

"I think he's got big boots to fill, but I think his feet will slot in quite nicely.

"I've got a mix of experience and a lot of energy which could be significant after a long season. We are hoping to get a platform to build on and to get something out of this series going forward.

"You are never going to be in a situation where everything works out perfectly but I'm hoping to get enough confidence to build through the series."

Iain Henderson returns from injury for Ireland, with Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls selected on the wings, although Rob Kearney and Simon Zebo are unavailable.

New Springboks coach Allister Coetzee takes charge for the first time and has handed Faf de Klerk a debut appearance. Elton Jantjies has passed a fitness test but will be on the bench for South Africa, while his Lions team-mate Lionel Mapoe will make his first Springboks start.

"I am rewarding form and Lionel is one player who has been outstanding in Super Rugby. But this is not a 15-man team; it's a 23-man squad," Coetzee said.

"Lionel is grateful for the chance to start and he has been showing consistently good form and played well for the Lions.

"Faf is a bundle of energy and I have to rein him in a bit. He's explosive and Duane Vermeulen will help take care of him there and he has the experience of Pat Lambie outside him.

"It wasn't an easy team selection but that makes me proud; proud of the fact there is competitiveness in the squad, proud of the fact the players have brought huge intensity and a massive work rate to training.

Adriaan Strauss will captain the Springboks for the first time, with experienced trio Willie le Roux, JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo of Sharks making up the South Africa back line.