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Ireland's Rhys Ruddock ready for second Test battle with Springboks

Rhys Ruddock Ireland  rugby player
Image: Rhys Ruddock is likely to start for Ireland on Saturday

Ireland flanker Rhys Ruddock is expecting a South Africa backlash in Saturday's second Test in Johannesburg.

The Springboks will be determined to produce an improved performance at Ellis Park after losing 26-20 to a 14-man Irish side at Newlands last weekend.

However, Ruddock, who is the favourite to come into the Ireland team as a replacement for suspended Munster captain CJ Stander, thinks the tourists are also capable of upping their game.

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Highlights of Ireland's first Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

He said: "The first thing we did when when we got to Joburg was to review the game and although there were a lot of positives, there were also a lot of things to work on.

"That was the key message going into the start of the week - that there's still another sort of 10 or 15 per cent that we can develop early in this week into a good performance on the weekend.

"The other message is that we know we're at our best when we're a little bit fearful of what the team we're going to be facing is about and what they're capable of, and that's why it's no different this week.

Devin Toner from Ireland shakes hands with Adriaan Strauss, captain of the Springboks
Image: Ireland made a winning start to the three-Test series

"We know that South Africa are probably better than they were last week and we know they're a difficult team to beat.

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"So all the focus is going to be on preparing ourselves to the best of our ability, having a clear plan going into the game and being able to execute under the pressure that we're going to feel on Saturday.

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Joe Schmidt says he has never been prouder as a 14-man Ireland recorded a famous win against South Africa in Cape Town

"In defence, obviously we were put under a lot of pressure. We were down to 14 or 13 men for large periods of that game and I think the way the guys dug in in terms of working hard for one another was one of the main positives.

"But that meant that things didn't always go to plan and we kind of had to improvise a little bit.

"With 15 men on the field hopefully we can really stick to our plan and be even more effective in defence."

Ireland forward CJ Stander
Image: CJ Stander is suspended for the Ellis Park showdown

Stander is the only member of Ireland's squad who is unavailable for the second Test and Joe Schmidt names his team on Thursday afternoon.

South Africa also name their team after Thursday's training session, with Coetzee waiting on the fitness of Duane Vermeulen (knee) and Lood de Jager (ankle).

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