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Sunday Nov 9, 2014

Ireland upset South Africa with impressive physicality in Dublin

Ireland upset South Africa with impressive physicality in Dublin
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An inspired Ireland proved to strong for a rusty looking South Africa in Dublin on Saturday. The home side dominated the fierce breakdown battle, and took their points to win 29-15, for the Boks’ first Northern Hemisphere team defeat since 2010.

Coming off a win over the All Blacks and success over Ireland in recent years, the Springboks were expected to be far more convincing, especially with dominant scrums and a solid lineout. The Irish forward pack forced errors though, with shaky looking scrumhalf play and missed chances, ill-discipline ultimately cost the tourists, as both sides scored two tries apiece.

Jonathan Sexton kicked four penalty goals and two conversions however, as South Africa chose not to kick penalties in the first half, instead opting for the lineout maul.

Trailing in the final quarter, a comeback was disrupted by a surprising yellow card decision by referee Romaine Poite, who sinbinned Adriaan Strauss for taking Rob Kearney in the air.

“We came right back into the game, started to get some quick ball later on, and then the yellow card,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. “By then, away from home it’s difficult to defend that, especially against a good quality side when they have a good kicking game, kicking behind us. 

“We are dissappointed with the way we played – we’re much better than that. All credit to them and they were the better side tonight.”

While the yellow card wasn’t the reason for the loss, it halted momentum and a try was scored during that period. Meyer didn’t focus on it too much though, instead praising the impressive Irish.

“We’ve got a saying at the Boks that the referee is always right. Willie [Le Roux] also in the first half went up, and… you know, we won’t talk about that one. The ref’s always right and thats the way I see it and it’s not an excuse. You have to be careful. We can use it as an excuse but I don’t want to.

“I thought Ireland were the better side, they were brilliant and that probably wouldn’t have made a difference, although I thought we came back into the game, they still tactically outkicked us and outplayed us.

“We are sorry that we let our country and our supporters down with that performance,” he added.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was full of praise for his brave, committed forward pack.

“I’m delighted with the performance. I don’t think you could ask too much more from a courage perspective. I think there are a number of players who really stood up physically to what was going to be a really tough assignment.

“Paul [O’Connell] and the players put a lot of work into having a clear strategy. That strategy was well delivered by the players but the physicality they delivered allowed us to stay in the game.”

South Africa play England next weekend, while Ireland take on Georgia.

View the Irish post match press conference below

28 Comments

  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    3:30 PM 14/11/2014

    agreed. Hougaard is best for the bench given his ability to "cover" scrumhalf or wing. having lambie as an impact sub allows for cover of 10,15 or even a center which is a good cover option. Why pienaar is the starter then when healthy is beyond me then.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    11:00 PM 13/11/2014

    Assuming FdP is fit, I think the call on who warms the bench is as much tactical as it is a call on ability at 9. If you choose Hougaard, you must have a flyhalf on the bench. If you choose Pienaar, he can cover 10, so you have the option to skip on that specialist cover and bring in another outside back, another fast man you fancy as a game-breaker. For me, I'd have Hougaard on the bench. The guy brings so much to the table, and he's a nightmare impact sub for opponents to deal with. I just don't love him starting at 9, it's not his natural position.

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    6:15 PM 13/11/2014

    I agree, FdP is the best person for the job if he is healthy or even at 70%. Hougaard is just trying to fill his shoes. Hougaard does seem to make the wrong decisions but he is a terrier on defense and when he is on song, can do the job. when the game plan is pass the ball to the forwards then the backs he is good.. when the game plan is "play what is in front of you"... not so good. We will see at the end of this tour and I guess the super rugby season as to the strength of our scrum half.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    6:46 PM 11/11/2014

    I agree with your first paragraph - no-one really was giving Ireland much of a chance - but I also felt that was completely wrong! At home, even with some new faces, against a Bok side that has struggled to win away from home this year, they were always in with a good shot. And they were much the better side on the day. Disappointing Bok performance, but a good amount of that was down to how well Ireland played.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    4:48 PM 11/11/2014

    Hougaard also had a strong game v NZ, but even then I was not convinced he was a natural scrumhalf. His kicking game is average, his handling and distribution are not as slick as you want, and you never quite trust he's making the right decisions. When he's off his game, then those weaknesses are accentuated. It's a bit academic however, Fourie du Preez is the first choice, and the issue is really who you want on the bench, either Hougaard or Pienaar covering 9. IMO, both can do the job, but FdP's fitness is crucial for WC success.

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    2:55 PM 11/11/2014

    I shared your sentiments on Hougaard up until the game against Australia in Cape town. He really showed his potential, then again against the all blacks in Joburg. - The problem is his consistency and effort in matches like this one where it seems that he thinks his place in the squad in now cemented given the past two performances (and injuries to others). I think the whole bok team just expected the result to come so the effort and mental sharpness was not really there. The same could be said of the whole back line. De villiers, pollard ,Hendrix all played like they were just trying to get through the game without getting injured and set up for the England game. The match this weekend I think is the litmus test Meyer is using to gauge how the world cup will feel. I would expect a more physical and clinical effort from the team.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    2:26 PM 11/11/2014

    Great game from Ireland, the late yellow was pretty important in allowing Ireland to break well clear, but they were already the better side and fully deserved the win. Personally, I've seen this episode before with the Bokke. 5 weeks since they last played, and they weren't at their sharpest. And when that happens, they revert to a narrower game plan, and a team that can defend as well as Ireland do becomes difficult to break down. Disappointing performance, but I'd expect them to be much better next weekend at Twickenham. Hopefully too, the Francois Hougaard debate can be concluded. I love seeing the guy come off the bench, but he isn't a starting scrumhalf.

    Reply
  • rugbydump
    11:12 AM 11/11/2014

    Welcome, WickedSick! Glad you could be arsed this time ;)

    Reply
  • kadova
    12:50 AM 11/11/2014

    Hahaha....as long as the English are beaten, i'm happy ! Just kidding, hey...

    Reply
  • brecor
    6:49 PM 10/11/2014

    Strauss got binned because it was the 3rd pro foul in a row in about 2 mins, not solely because of the high tackle

    Reply
  • brecor
    6:47 PM 10/11/2014

    12 months ago, South Africa just came off home and away losses to New Zealand. hmmm indeed.

    Reply
  • flanker2712
    1:36 PM 10/11/2014

    On the yellow card, Poite spoke to de Villiers and implied that Strauss's hanging arm on its own would probably not have warranted a yellow card, highlighting Vermeulen's headlock, I mean tackle, on Heaslip a few minutes earlier.

    Reply
  • 2down
    12:55 PM 10/11/2014

    I thought the decision not to contest lineouts was risky but definitely payed off. Took some uncertainty out of that area for our new center partnership, who defensively were solid. Was delighted for Ruddock, our forwards deserved at least that try for their efforts and Bowe looked dangerous all game.

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    12:37 PM 10/11/2014

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x29qp76_1st-1-2-ire-vs-sa_latino new link. :)

    Reply
  • flanker2712
    12:30 PM 10/11/2014

    I think "no one gave Ireland a sniff" and "didn't have a hope" are maybe a bit strong. Agreed that the consensus among pundits and fans was a likely SA win, but probably not by more than one or two scores. But that is based on both teams playing pretty much to their potential, nobody having an off-day, no dodgy refereeing decisions etc. And how often does that happen in a modern day test match??!!

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    11:54 AM 10/11/2014

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwpRpmTeG6k enjoy !!! :)

    Reply
  • jeri
    9:17 AM 10/11/2014

    I'm saying this as an All Blacks supporter. Dear Springboks, please beat the English.

    Reply
  • alasdairduncan3
    8:41 AM 10/11/2014

    What a try from Bowe (and Murray). Anyone got a link for the full match?

    Reply
  • wickedsick
    8:26 AM 10/11/2014

    Been following this site for a few years, just couldn't be arsed to sign up ;) Broke my heart losing to the Irish, but great credit to them, they smashed us in an area of the game we are notorious for....physicality... At times it was like running into a great green wall. Any chance of breaking the line we butchered horribly. Did anybody see that driving maul on the Irish line that the ref blew up? Told them to use it even though it was making good ground? My toys went fully out of the pram then... No issue playing and losing against a team like Ireland, even in victory they were great sports. However, if we lose against England, we will never hear the end of it.

    Reply
  • katman
    7:32 AM 10/11/2014

    Kudos to the Irish - they simply outplayed us in every aspect of the game. Particularly impressive was their centre pairing - looked dangerous every time they touched the ball. For us, Francois Hougaard had a game he'd want to forget. His fumbles ruined our most potent attacks. But he wasn't the only culprit. Hope some hard lessons were learnt, and that we regroup for the English.

    Reply
  • andrej
    1:08 AM 10/11/2014

    They nearly beat New Zealand last time they played. If South Frica can beat New Zealand.......hmmm

    Reply
  • mise
    11:06 PM 09/11/2014

    Hi Bey: eh yes I have - I live in Ireland. I'm basing what I said on listening to experts on radio, in print and TV - former players and professional rugby journalists - all of whom said Ireland didn't have a hope. Former International (and now pundit) Trevor Hogan went for Ireland, but I didn't hear any others. They may have been out there, surely someone else along with Hogan gave Ireland a sniff- but they were very much in the minority. General fans felt likewise, in as much as I can call my own personal encounters representative. (they aren't but they are as representative as any others)

    Reply
  • reality
    10:13 PM 09/11/2014

    I'm not sure which interview Meyer's comments above came from, but I have to say that in the one he did with RTE right after the match he was very gracious and was rightly applauded by the panel for congratulating Ireland and not looking for excuses. I get the impression that the comments above are a response to a direct question about the referee.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    9:55 PM 09/11/2014

    *SA were outplayed, not Ireland... Ire had outstanding defence and took another gear when it mattered.

    Reply
  • 9:23 PM 09/11/2014

    so in not commenting on the ref he comments on the ref....hmmm. Not sure the Kearney challenge where it seems like le Roux was back on the ground is quite the same as the yellow card incident but I guess it could have warrented a card. All cards aside though, I think South Africa approached this like a game they had in the bag and made some very stupid decisions. Not just the kicking for touch instead of for points but also in their defensive lines (Bowe try) and repeating of tactics that had been clearly well countered (maul). Well done Ireland, very well done Schmidt

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    9:06 PM 09/11/2014

    A great defensive effort from ierland. Really disappointed in the boks finishing. Had such dominance in the scrums so I guess they were just expecting the points to come but never did. I think we should have taken more scrum options and possibly force a yellow. Marcel cotzee's try was the culmination of the boks game plan. Stupid turn overs, great rush defense and sexton boot taught us a good lesson. That is being number 2 in the world does not mean that everyone other than the all blacks are guaranteed wins. Teams are gunning for our scalp too. Kind of wish this Irish outfit could get a Crack at the all blacks again this year. Good lessons that I'm glad was not during the world cup but I hope we learn from.

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    8:19 PM 09/11/2014

    Wow. Well played Ireland!! Ireland are playing as a fresh team, not a post-BOD team. I thought the centres looked sharp. They are in a rare position, nobody expects them to be Drico so there is no pressure to fill his shoes. Instead they have put their own pair in the boot room for polishing. Nice to see Ireland carrying on where the great man passed the torch. Some might argue that SA were tired from the Rugby Championship, that is a disservice to Ireland. They were outplayed for 79 minutes, and got a consolation score. Every team makes mistakes, but only the good ones make use of them. They didn't celebrate because they have their heads on. Build yourself up, you fall a lot further. Keep a level head, treat each opponent with the respect they deserve rather than a self inflated ego, and bring them hell. A strong team to beat, but SA are only one team.

    Reply
  • mise
    6:24 PM 09/11/2014

    Very unexpected result - no one gave Ireland a sniff really, especially without Cian Healy and Sean O Brian (there were a lot of other injuries too, but those two are world class and the right kind of player to face South Africa). Schmidt really out-thought Meyer this time. Not using anyone to contest lineouts (even with a tempting 6 ft 11 option in Devin Toner!) really worked for on the ground defense. Bizarre that Ireland were 29-10 up with half a minute to go. Yellow card did have a bearing and was tight but I can see how and why he gave it: usually those thing are a lot more spectacular looking, and thus easier to give, but technically he did take the player out in the air, albeit just about in the air and not very viciously - more a professional foul. However I can also see how and why he didn't give the first half one when he asked to go to the TMO for the forearm to the neck tackle on Healip (a bit like Du Plessis against the Kiwis that time in Eden Park - doesn't look too bad but there' a technical logic to the query). Not sure if the yellow as the different thou, Ireland were savvy this time. Interesting to see how they didn't celebrate like lunatics either... Aussie match will be very interesting now....

    Reply


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Ireland upset South Africa with impressive physicality in Dublin | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos