South Africa and Ireland are widely viewed as the two best teams in world rugby at the present time, and their meeting in the group stage of the Rugby World Cup at the Stade de France on Saturday evening was always going to be a tight affair
The Springboks hit back, with Cheslin Kolbe scoring a try off the back of a dominant scrum which itself came right after four replacement forwards – the so-called Bomb Squad – had been introduced.
Yet a Sexton penalty restored Ireland’s lead at 10-8 and South Africa squandered several chances to change that, with Faf de Klerk and Manie Libbok both missing penalties.
A Jack Crowley penalty secured the win for Ireland, with South Africa repelled from a last-chance line-out seven metres from the Irish line.
The victory leaves Ireland in pole position to win Pool B and avoid having to face hosts France in the quarter-finals, although the likely knockout clash against New Zealand is hardly an attractive proposition.
- Rugby World Cup fixtures/results
- Rugby World Cup standings
- Rugby World Cup predictor game – Pick your winners and challenge your friends!South Africa: Kitshoff 6, Mbonambi 7, Malherbe 6, Etzebeth 7, Mostert 6, Kolisi 7, Du Toit 6, Wiese 6; De Klerk 6, Libbok 5, Kolbe 7, De Allende 6, Kriel 6, Arendse 6, Willemse 6. Subs: Fourie 5, Nche 7, Nyakane 6, Kleyn 5, Snyman 7, Van Staden 6, Smith 7, Reinach 6.Ireland: Porter 6, Kelleher 5, Furlong 7, Ryan 6, Beirne 6, O’Mahony 7, Van der Flier 6, Doris 7; Gibson-Park 6, Sexton 7, Lowe 6, Aki 8, Ringrose 6, Hansen 7, Keenan 7. Subs: Sheehan 7, Bealham 6, Kilcoyne 6, Henderson 6, Baird 6, Murray 6, Crowley 7, Henshaw 6.TRY! SOUTH AFRICA 3-7 IRELAND (HANSEN) 34′ – Ireland win a line-out and show good patience and hands to go through the phases, drag in South Africa defenders, and then go wide. Lowe draws two defenders and pops a pass on to Hansen, who touches down in the right corner. Sexton nails the conversion for good measure.TRY! SOUTH AFRICA 8-7 IRELAND (KOLBE) 51′ – South Africa choose to scrum and after a re-set have an advantage. Ireland’s backs flood to the scrum and seek to apply pressure, but the handling is too good and Kolbe gets the ball in acres of space on the left to touch down.THROW NOT STRAIGHT! 71′ – Makeshift hooker Fourie’s throw from a five-metre line-out is not straight! A let-off for Ireland.PENALTY! SOUTH AFRICA 8-13 IRELAND 77′ – Crowley kicks a simple penalty, won at a scrum, and Ireland’s lead is now five pointsIRELAND WIN! 81′ – The Boks win their line-out and set up a maul, but Ireland thwart it, the ball doesn’t come out and that will do it! Ireland win and the Cranberries straight away comes on the speakers. A great game and an incredible moment.