Boks badly beaten in Dublin

2014-11-08 21:31
Devin Toner (Getty Images)

Dublin - Man-of-the-match Jonathan Sexton kicked 16 points to inspire Six Nations champions Ireland to a superb 29-15 (half-time 6-3) victory over South Africa at Aviva Stadium on Saturday for their fifth successive victory.

As it happened: Ireland v Springboks

Both sides scored two tries apiece - Irish flank Rhys Ruddock a late starter owing to Chris Henry being struck down by a virus scoring his first try for his country days short of his 24th birthday.

But the under-strength Irish played above themselves to record their first win under Joe Schmidt over a southern hemisphere heavyweight.

For the Springboks it was their first defeat to a northern hemisphere side since Scotland beat them four years ago and a wake-up call only weeks after they ended world champions New Zealand's 22 match winning run.

Early Irish pressure paid off when Sexton slotted over a penalty after the South Africans were penalised for pulling the scrum down.

The Springboks, though, were beginning to threaten regularly and a scintillating run by fullback Willie Le Roux tore through the heart of the Irish defence but again the hosts escaped as they were awarded a penalty.

In an enthralling encounter Ireland also produced some fine running rugby of their own with fullback Rob Kearney breaking through the visitors defence and pressured the Boks into conceding a penalty.

Sexton made no mistake to make it 6-0 with a quarter of an hour remaining of the first-half.

The Springboks deciding that they had the Irish scrum under the cosh in the set pieces twice decided to kick for the scorner than at goal but the hosts held firm and an infraction by Bismarck du Plessis allowed Sexton to clear.

Pollard finally gave the Boks something to show for their pressure during the opening period with a penalty in front of the posts two minutes from the break.

However, it was the Irish who struck first in the second-half as Devan Toner won a lineout a few yards out from the line and Ruddock was on hand to go over on the blindside - Sexton converted brilliantly from wide out on the left for 13-3.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer rang the changes bringing on experienced campaigners flank Schalk Burger, winger JP Pietersen as well as hooker Adriaan Strauss - whose cousin Richardt Strauss was on the Irish bench - in the first 10 minutes of the second-half desperately trying to get some momentum going.

Finally, though, South Africa's relentless pressure told as they won a lineout having opted again to go for the corner, after being awarded a penalty, veteran Victor Matfield won the lineout and Marcell Coetzee was on hand to touch down - Pollard converted for 13-10.

Sexton, who had gone down at one point and seemed to be feeling his calf, put over a penalty to give Ireland a 16-10 lead as the game entered the final 20 minutes.

The hosts were given a further boost when the visitors were reduced to 14 men when Adriaan Strauss was sin-binned with 14 minutes remaining for taking out Kearney in the air.

The Irish tails were up and forced a turnover close to the visitors line which ended with them being awarded a penalty and, unlike last year when Sexton missed a penalty against the All Blacks from the same distance, this time he struck it cleanly to make it 19-10.

Things were to get immeasurably better for the hosts minutes later as Sexton broke through the middle - Conor Murray chipped the resulting ball over the South African defence and Bowe was on hand to go over for his 27th try for his country.

The metronomic Sexton converted from the touchline for 26-10 and the Fields of Athenry resonated round the stadium.

The Irish added another penalty through Ian Madigan and Pietersen went over right at the end for a consolation try but it was way too little too late.



Tries: Rhys Ruddock, Tommy Bowe
Conversions: Jonny Sexton (2)
Penalties: Sexton (4), Ian Madigan

South Africa:

Tries: Marcell Coetzee, JP Pietersen
Conversion: Handre Pollard
Penalty: Pollard



15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Rhys Ruddock, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Paul O'Connell (captain), 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrathSubstitutes: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Tommy O'Donnell 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Felix Jones

South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen

Read more on:    ireland  |  springboks  |  rugby

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