South Africa (3) 32
TRY: Ruan Combrinck, Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Damian de Allende. CON: Elton Jantjies (3) PEN: Elton Jantjies (2)
Ireland (19) 26
TRY: Devin Toner, Jamie Heaslip. CON: Paddy Jackson (2) PEN: Paddy Jackson (4).
What a difference a week makes, no scratch that, what a difference forty minutes makes in International rugby. Ireland had a sixteen point lead going into the break for this match, looking well set for their first ever series win in South Africa.
Unfortunately the hosts upped the ante after the restart and ran in, or should I say barged in, four tries to equalise the series which now goes to a decider in Port Elizabeth next weekend.
It all started so well.
Elton Jantjies kicked an early three points for the South Africa but the hosts quickly returned to their profligate ways of last week and Paddy Jackson took advantage to slot over two penalties in the first quarter to give Ireland a 3 – 6 lead.
It looked even better for the visitors as the half progressed with a dominant scrum yielding Ireland their third penalty early in the second quarter and five minutes later Jackson stepped up to slot over his fourth as the crowd continued to voice their concerns over the home teams performance. 3 – 12
South Africa looked clueless in attack and defence and Andrew Trimble took full advantage as he turned a miss-fielded kick into a try with a clever scoop back into the hands of Jared Payne. Payne passed on to Devin Toner and the big lock makes no mistake as he stretches for the line for the opening try.
Jackson added the extras and Ireland take a 3 – 19 lead into the break, the South Africans booed of the pitch.
There was a worrying sense of purpose as the hosts came out for the second half with replacements Warren Whiteley and Ruan Combrinck adding some much needed go forward. However it took them most of the third quarter to find the try line, the brutally direct runner Combrinck scoring in the corner after Jackson looked to have stemmed the tide after crunching tackle on Mapoe.
Elton Jantjies made the conversion and it was a different game now with the score reading 10 – 19.
Or was it? Ireland hit back almost immediately with Jamie Heaslip touching down off the back of a driving maul and with Jackson converting Ireland restored their sixteen point lead with twenty minutes to go.
It’s hard to say if Ireland suffered from altitude issues or if South Africa just got better, probably a bit of both, but it was one way traffic from then on with Combrinck a one man wrecking ball.
It was brutal viewing as Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Damian de Allende all crossed in quick succession with Jantjies converting two and adding a late penalty to give South Africa a 32 – 16 win.
Ireland: Jared Payne, Andrew Trimble, Robbie Henshaw, Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Conor Murray, Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Quinn Roux, Iain Henderson ,Rhys Ruddock, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Dave Kilcoyne, Finlay Bealham, Donnacha Ryan, Sean Reidy, Kieran Marmion ,Ian Madigan, Tiernan O’Halloran.