Andy Farrell has dropped a major selection bombshell by benching his captain Peter O’Mahony for the second Test against South Africa in Durban.

Ireland are looking to level the series and finish their season on a high after losing 27-20 at Loftus Versfeld and the coach has made four personnel changes and two positional in order to do so.

He’s opted to move Tadhg Beirne to blindside flanker, with James Ryan coming into the pack as Caelan Doris is backed to captain the side from the start.

The decision to leave out O’Mahony will likely heighten speculation that his international career is nearing its end, with Doris the man tipped to succeed the Munster legend as captain.

Bundee Aki misses out and, while the IRFU has not clarified his injury status, it’s understood he carried an arm injury into the week from the first Test loss against the Springboks in Pretoria.

Robbie Henshaw moves from outside centre to inside centre, with Garry Ringrose coming into the side.

Jamie Osborne keeps his place in an unchanged back three, with James Lowe cleared to play.

Conor Murray comes into the team in place of the injured Craig Casey and partners Jack Crowley.

Up front, there’s another enforced change in the front-row where Rónan Kelleher replaces the injured Dan Sheehan. Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong are the props, with Ryan partnering Joe McCarthy in the second-row.

Doris skippers from No 8, with Beirne and Josh van der Flier on the flanks.

O’Mahony is part of a 5/3 bench, with Rob Herring joining Cian Healy and Finlay Bealham in covering the front-row, Ryan Baird being the other impact replacement.

Caolin Blade, Ciarán Frawley and Stuart McCloskey are the backline replacements.

Ireland (v South Africa):

15. Jamie Osborne (Naas/Leinster)(1)

14. Calvin Nash (Young Munster/Munster)(7)

13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)(59)

12. Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster)(73)

11. James Lowe (Leinster)(32)

10. Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)(15)

9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) (117)

1. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)(65)

2. Rónan Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster)(32)

3. Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)(77)

4. Joe McCarthy (Dublin University/Leinster)(11)

5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster)(63)

6. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster)(51)

7. Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)(63)

8. Caelan Doris (St Mary’s College/Leinster)(42)(captain)


16. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster)(39)

17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)(130)

18. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht)(41)

19. Ryan Baird (Dublin University/Leinster)(21)

20. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster)(106)

21. Caolin Blade (Galwegians/Connacht)(2)

22. Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster)(5)

23. Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster)(17).