Monday Jun 20, 2016 Bok-lash earns South Africa an incredible comeback victory

Bok-lash earns South Africa an incredible comeback victory
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At 19-3 up at half time in Johannesburg Ireland were on the brink of something very special. After a heroic 14-man victory over South Africa in the first test, which was their first ever victory in South Africa, they were 40 minutes away from wrapping a first ever series win.

But then came the ‘Bok-lash’. The Springboks put in a powerful second half performance to snatch the game away from Ireland winning 32-26.

The boot of Paddy Jackson gave Ireland first half ascendency before a brilliant bit of skill by Andrew Trimble to keep the ball in play set up an opportunity for 6ft10 Devin Toner to barrel over the line.

South Africa had much of the possession at the start of the game but their indiscipline at both the break down and scrum time cost them points.

The substitutions made by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee at half-time had a seismic effect on the game, as the local Lions players had a huge impact, especially debutant Ruan Combrinck.

The go forward that number eight Warren Whitely and wing Combrinck gave South Africa off the bench went a long way to the home side gaining control. A lovely outside break from Willie Le Roux put through Combrinck who ran over Jackson to score and put South Africa back in the game.

However the impressive Irish pack responded with a driving maul try finished off skilfully by a resurgent Jamie Heaslip.

With 20 minutes remaining Ireland had a 16 point lead and looked likely to secure a series victory.

It was at this point that the Irish defence begun to tire and slip off tackles. The physical ball carrying of the Springboks was taking its toll and some delicate footwork from Whitely allowed him to dive over the line after beating a couple of Irish tacklers.

Pieter-Steph du Toit, who’s carrying was immense throughout the game, then shrugged off would be Irish tacklers to score right next to the points.

Ireland’s sizeable lead had been cut to four points in a matter of minutes.

The South African juggernaut was becoming unstoppable and Damien de Allende’s powerful burst on the Irish 22, over the top of Conor Murray, sealed South Africa’s incredible comeback.

Ultimately the power of the Springboks was too much for Ireland who can attribute all four tries to missed tackles. This will undoubtedly frustrate Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and captain Rory Best who rued his side’s errors stating “We put ourselves in a great position to win the game and the series, but we’ll look back on a lot of mistakes in the second half.

“We gave South Africa momentum and they showed the quality side they are,” he added.

The series is level at 1-1 but crucially the manner of victory for South Africa has seized the momentum. It will be a tough task for the Irish to bounce back but a chance to make history awaits in Port Elizabeth.

However the dominance of the second half performance from Coetzee’s men will give the Springboks huge confidence that they can find their form again, and seal a series victory.

credit: nzrugbyvidz/supersport
Note: If the video doesn’t work in your country you can view it on page two (SA commentary)

12 Comments

  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g

    The political beast is always there, and it always finds its voice when we lose. That's the sad reality. Not sure I agree fully with your second point - if you look at who other Lions players could replace... it's a bit of a mixed bag. Franco Mostert and Jaco Kriel and Warren Whitely would all displace experienced players; but no question, if a white Lions player replaced a non-white member of the squad, we'd hear all about it.

    Reply
  •  foxtrot
    foxtrot

    You also have to remember that the transformation issue is also very much a factor these days. I think Coetzee would be under a lot of political pressure if he were to put those Lions players in because many of them would replace black players. As it is COSATU has already come out to blame white players for the poor performance. Saying they are deliberately playing bad and so conspiring to try get Coetzee removed. So unfortunately we have to remind ourselves that, that beast still rears its ugly head. I also think its one of the main reasons we've been playing so poorly. The politics, ever since before the WC, have just proved absolutely poisonous for the whole rugby environment in SA and its manifested itself in many ways for the Boks.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I think given Paddy Jacksons get up and go attitude, Ireland are onto a really handy fly half... I felt Sexton was going to be a really awesome player for Ireland, however in recent years he seems to have just developed a Ronan O'Gara miserable agro attitude chip on his shoulder, coupled with a bit of drama lessons... which all in all pisses me off...

    Reply
  •  flanker2712
    flanker2712

    Great posts from Eddie-g and katman. Fully agree that it was a combination of factors that turned the game. Combrinck was a monster, and made such a difference. With hindsight, you could argue that South Africa would have turned the game around and won no matter what, but for me the turning point was a lapse in concentration from the Irish that led to Combrinck's try. Ireland won a turnover (can't remember if it was a knock-on or a steal at the ruck) and Paddy Jackson cleared well. Whatever it was, tiredness, satisfaction at having repelled an attack, etc. Ireland just seemed to go to sleep a bit and Le Roux was able to take advantage from the quick lineout to set up the try. I know Ireland went straight back up and scored a try of their own, but watching I just felt that at that moment that the game went from being a comfortable (and historic!) win to being a very close contest. Even with one score in it at the end, it didn't have the feel of a close contest. SA were scoring at will. In any other year, if you had told me before the test series that Ireland would win the first game playing most of the game with 14 men and would lost the second game in the last 10 minutes, I'd have said that's a great effort from Ireland. But with a lot of people saying that this was a great time to play SA, I'm not sure how much to read into it. In any case, whether it's a good time to play SA or not, I have been very impressed with a few of the Irish players, especially Paddy Jackson who has shown he can manage a game at test level and looks like he has improved his kicking. With Johnny Sexton, Tommy Bowe, Simon Zebo, Rob Kearney, Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahoney, Cian Healy all missing from the squad, a lot of players have been given opportunities and have shown Ireland have more depth than in previous years. Bring on the last test! I have a feeling that the momentum has swung, but with two close scorelines so far, hoping for another great game.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    Thanks.

    Reply
  •  eddie-g
    eddie-g

    I've been trying to get inside Coetzee's head, in terms of his selections - because, like you say, the Lions players have been light years ahead of all others in terms of current form, and surely more of them deserve a run. What I think has happened is this. He knows he's picking an inexperienced half-back pairing (they were found out in the first test), so he's tried to bolster the experience quota in other key areas, most obviously the loose-forwards. I can understand the thinking, it's born from the cautious mindset that every Bok coach gets sucked into when they first take on the job, but this time Coetzee really needed to start from fresh and go all-in on selecting Lions players. The second half this weekend showed why. I have since read that Jaco Kriel will be starting next week. I hope that's correct, it's long overdue, and I imagine it'll take about 30 minutes for him to confirm he's world class and indispensable. And lastly, to re-emphasise your point about Ireland, they have been a consistently strong NH team for a while. You never want to take them lightly. I'd maintain there's a gap between the NH and SH teams - the latter still win nearly all the really big games - but it's not a big gap and when you underperform, you get punished. Even when you play well, Ireland are a helluva tough opponent.

    Reply
  •  rugbydump
    rugbydump

    Updated for you on page two of the post

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I'd agree with your odds. Ireland will be battered and bruised and now the boks will have their tails up!

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    Oh, and screw DSTV for blocking this video footage on YouTube in SA.

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    For me, two things changed from the first to the second half of this game. The first was that the Boks started to make first-time tackles. Around halftime they showed a montage of Bok missed tackles from the first half, and it was horrible to see them all back to back. Same repeat offenders too - Malherbe, I'm looking at you. Once the first tackler started holding on to his man in the second half, the dangerous momentum of the Irish was halted, and we could start to mount some attacks of our own. And the second thing was the introduction of form players from the bench. Make no mistake, I'm a big fan of guys like Vermeulen and Louw, but they haven't been great recently. And because we hardly see them play, most of us didn't know this until the first test. We do however know how good guys like Whiteley, Combrinck, Redelinghuys and Mostert have been this year. And it was no surprise that these four pulled the match out of the fire for us. Pity a couple of the other form players of 2016 are not even in the squad, most notably the Lions hooker, Malcolm Marx. He's head and shoulders ahead of any of the other three hookers in the squad. And, in the absence of Bismarck du Plessis, he should have been there. It's also crazy that the best loose forward in SA, Jaco Kriel, has not featured at all, even though he is in the squad. He must get a run in Port Elizabeth. Coetzee needs to look beyond past glories, and he needs to look beyond his old Stormers allegiances. Pick the guys who have performed week in and week out against the best teams in the Southern Hemisphere. Oh, and much respect to the Irish. They are playing some amazing rugby and I think just about all of us underestimated them. Hopefully we won't make that mistake again.

    Reply
  •  girshin
    girshin

    Couple of reasons. First half Ireland were strong as in the first test but South Africa was even worse then the first test. It looked done and dusted by the half as RSA look disinterested, poor discipline, scrum being dominated and Mvovu badly exposed under the high ball. Second half Whiteley and Combrink started and there was more energy in general. Suddenly they looked interested. And boy did those two players make a difference. The Ireland on top of that seemed to tire. Maybe altitude, maybe a long season but their D started to struggle. Great game to watch as a South African. Credit to Coetzee for making those subs at the right time. Credit to the subs for bringing energy and skill the guys the replaced did not have. Credit to the team for lifting themselves. Tough luck Ireland they can still win it next week but it 60/40 in favour of the Boks now in my mind

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I tuned in to see Ireland leading a lot of points to 3 and though "eh, bloody hell" and thought Ireland must have it in the bag, went away, when I heard later they'd lost the game I couldn't believe it. I still don't know the ins and the outs of it, but what a shambles to give away a lead like that. Well done SA, commiserations Ireland, bet both teams are itching to meet at the 3rd test!

    Reply

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Bok-lash earns South Africa an incredible comeback victory | RugbyDump