Ireland inflict worst ever defeat on South Africa



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    Ireland’s 38-3 win over South Africa on the weekend was their best ever against the Springboks, eclipsing the 2006 scoreline of 32-15.

    South Africa finished the Rugby Championship with a close loss to New Zealand and were hoping to build on this for their November series, but were completely outclassed.

    The Irish scored four tries, through Andrew Conway, Rhys Ruddock, Rob Herring and Jason Stockdale, as well as kicking four penalties and three conversions.

    The Springboks sole points came from a penalty, ten minutes into the second half.

    It was a nightmare start for the tourists, as prop Coenie Oosthuizen left the field in the first minute after being hit in a double tackle by Jonny Sexton and debutant Bundee Aki.

    Oosthuizen is one of the leaders in the side and his absence was keenly felt, as the Boks pack were completely overwhelmed by the Irish, conceding a number of penalties.

    The Springbok backs were also outclassed, lacking vision and execution in defence and attack.

    Conway’s maiden Test try, approaching the half an hour mark, came after a neat up and under by Irish scrum-half Conor Murray completely caught out the opposition. Conway pounced on the loose ball and ran in, untouched, from 20 metres.

    Soon, South Africa had a chance to chip away at Ireland’s lead after they were awarded a penalty, but they chose to run it and were kept out by the dogged defence of Ireland’s backrow, especially CJ Stander, who was the best South African-born player on the pitch.

    The first half finished at 14-0 and South Africa claimed the first points of the second stanza, through a penalty by Elton Janjiies. It was only in the last quarter of the match that Ireland started to run away with the result.

    Firstly, replacement flanker Ruddock ran in from five metres out. Then hooker Herring, another replacement, touched down from a line out.

    Finally Stockdale, finishing off the move of the game, ran in his first try for his country. Replacemnent out-half Joey Carbery was only on for five minutes but managed to kick two conversions.

    While it was a team effort, several Irish players deserve a mention for their performance.

    Rob Kearney made a welcome return to international rugby at fullback – his dependency under the high ball was something South Africa sorely lacked. Both wingers, who only have five caps between them, thorougly deserved their first tries.

    Aki had been the focus of criticism during the week, with many objecting to his inclusion (due to his qualifying under the three-year residency rule) but he put in a committed performance. Robbie Henshaw had some great touches and the halves controlled the day, with Sexton the deserved man of the match and Murray constantly chipping away at the South African line.

    The home pack thoroughly dominated their counterparts (not many forwards have been able to say that over the years, though admittedly more in recent times). Tadhg Furlong showed why his opposite number, Tendai Mtawarira, thinks he is the best tighthead in the world at the moment.

    It was a great performance by Ireland and it can be built on.

    The defeat was another in a long list of records Allistair Coetzee will not have wanted to break. Under his tenure, South Africa have conceded their first home loss to Argentina, record losses to Wales and Ireland, their biggest ever defeat (to New Zeaaland) and first ever loss to Italy.

    A 3-0 series whitewash of France and that close loss to the All Blacks were bright spots, but it’s mainly been poor.

    Coetzee had come under review by the SARFU earlier in the year after a string of poor results. He managed to retain his job but the writing looks to be on the wall now.

    Former Munster coach Rassie Erasmus is heading back to South Africa to take the job of director of rugby and will be Coetzee’s superior.

    Of course, getting rid of the coach is akin to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. South Africa’s problems run deep, mainly due to the quota system and many of their best players plying their trade in Europe.

    While South Africa looks likely to host the 2023 World Cup, it will be the only thing for rugby fans in the country to cheer for in quite a while.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • November 15th 2017 @ 9:16am
      Fionn said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      ‘Of course, getting rid of the coach is akin to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. South Africa’s problems run deep, mainly due to the quota system and many of their best players plying their trade in Europe.’

      I disagree. There are a lot of good domestic players, they are just not being selected by the coach. The du Preez brothers, Pollard, Gelant, Combrinck, Reinach, Dan du Preez and Mapimpi are those that I can think of off the top of my head.

      Add to them senior players based in Europe that could be leaders in the team: Bismarck du Plessis, Vermuelen (finally selected), Habana, Pietersen, Pienaar, le Roux and Frans Steyn. Coetzee is choosing not to pick them.

      Coetzee doesn’t seem to rate the importance of a proper back-row when he overlooks traditional blindside flanks in both du Preez brothers in favour of a lock in PSDT or an openside in Kriel, and doesn’t seem to rate the importance of a traditional 8 when he plays Cassiem and Louw over Vermuelen.

      Moreover, there are players who just are not international standard/international starters that are given far too many chances over better players—Cassiem, Cronke, Jantjies, Rhule, Skosan, de Allende, Kriel (at 13), Leyds and Coetzee.

      Beyond the obvious problems with selections I have never seen an international team play with less heart and belief than the Boks under Coetzee. They are bereft of ideas in attack, lack intensity and lack commitment in defence. They don’t seem to have an identity or clear way that they want to play either.

      I think that all of these problems can be fixed under the right coach. There will, of course, still be structural issues of politics an the exodus to Europe, but despite this South Africa still has the best playing pool in the world along with England and New Zealand.

      All that being said, for mine when Ireland clicks they look like the second best team in the world, better perhaps even than England. The problem for Ireland is being able to play consistently at a high standard, something that only New Zealand and England have been able to do thus far. Things are looking good for Ireland though.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 9:55am
        Colm said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Agree with most of the things you’ve written Fionn.

        The right Bok backs just aren’t being selected. A backline with Gelant, Mapimpi, Am and Combrink would scare any defence.

        For me, Ireland’s counter attacking game still isn’t good enough. Stockdale and Conway are good in these situations, but Kearney just eats the space available for them.

        Also, Ireland’s front five didn’t do too badly, did they? Iain Henderson had clearly been reading the Roar.

      • November 15th 2017 @ 7:29pm
        Kane said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:29pm | ! Report

        John Mitchell is the answer

        • Roar Guru

          November 15th 2017 @ 7:39pm
          Corne Van Vuuren said | November 15th 2017 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

          John Mitchell would only be an asset if he is given free reign, to select on merit and not pay heed to political pressures.

          He will never get free reign.

          • November 17th 2017 @ 7:48am
            Taylorman said | November 17th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

            Yes hes definitely the sort to put in in SAs current state…change and accountability would happen immediately Ive no doubt about that.

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 9:39am
      Colm said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

      Thanks for the article, Declan.
      “Rob Kearney made a welcome return to international rugby at fullback – his dependency under the high ball was something South Africa sorely lacked.” Not so sure about this. Firstly, the kicks were far too long from Cronjé, secondly even with the amount of space Kearney got, he never ever looked like beating the first man.

      Kearney is up there with Dempsey as Ireland’s greatest full-back, but Ireland aren’t going to be contenders for a world cup with him there. The current version of Kearney is being selected solely for his kicking and fielding. He makes terrible decisions in defence, refuses to pass-regardless of whether or no there’s an overlap and also lacks the pace that Folau, Smith, Hogg or even Brown have. Also, he will be 33 at the next world cup.

      I think Tiernan O’Halloran, Stockdale, Carbery, Conway and Larmour should be the only players in contention for the 15 jersey, leading into the next world cup.

      • November 17th 2017 @ 1:06am
        HenryHoneyBalls said | November 17th 2017 @ 1:06am | ! Report

        I disagree. Fullback is a key position and all the last 4 or 5 RWC winners have selected very experienced players there. Ireland need a man of his experience at the RWC. He may not do anything flashy but his positioning, reliability and experience will be an asset in the bigger games.

        1999 Matt Burke
        2003 Josh Lewsey
        2007 Percy Montgomery
        2011 Israel Dagg
        2015 Ben Smith

        I’m not suggesting Kearney is as good as any or all of the above but they were all really experienced players at the time of the final and in key positions this is really important IMO.

        • Roar Guru

          November 17th 2017 @ 4:46am
          Colm said | November 17th 2017 @ 4:46am | ! Report

          Dagg was only 23 at that world cup and had only been playing international rugby for one year, but I get your point.

          To be honest, I would be ok with Kearney’s selection if he was reliable in defense. The reality is though, that Kearney makes really bad decisions in defense, and no longer has the pace to make up for it. I don’t mind missed one-on-one tackles, but spacing and reading the game is a real issue for Kearney. An example of this was the TJ Perenara try in Chicago last year. There was absolutely no need for Kearney to step in, it was obvious that Coles was going to offload. Ben Smith’s try in that game also came from Kearney stepping in when there was no need.

          • November 17th 2017 @ 7:50am
            Taylorman said | November 17th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

            Dagg was the best player on the field in the semi, was the nail for Oz in that match.

    • November 15th 2017 @ 9:59am
      Chris said | November 15th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      I think if South Africa picked a team full of their overseas players they would be much better and more competitive than this new crop who are no where near tge highest international level. I said it before only Etzebeth would make the starting 15 for the All Blacks, England and Wallabies and then maybe De Jager and Louw for the bench. The rest are no where near good enough.

      • Roar Guru

        November 15th 2017 @ 10:23am
        PeterK said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

        Mtawarira, Marx, and Kolisi would make the starting wallabies as well as EB for sure.

        No backs but at least half the forwards (at a minimum, if I was selector even more).

        • November 15th 2017 @ 5:50pm
          Cuw said | November 15th 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

          Kolisi will not make it if the quota system is removed. Flow Thor and Whitely will be a better 3rd row. even a guy like Michael Rhodes who has not played test rugger is better than Kolisi as a pure 6. also Coetzee but he has a long injury.

          only the 2nd rowers in SA – EE, LDJ, PSDT are arguably better than those abroad , but even then there are quite a few guys in NH who may challenge that.

          Marx looks good but i will still go with BDP. and not forgetting BRITTS 🙂

    • Roar Guru

      November 15th 2017 @ 10:59am
      Hoy said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      I saw the highlights of the game only… What summed it up for me was late in the game, the Irish winger was isolated in a tackle, there was two South Africans there, and they fumbled and fluffed about and had a pathetic, smidgen hearted attempt at getting over the ball to secure possession. They had all the time in the world to get over the ball and earn a penalty, and instead they did nothing close to committing their bodies…

    • November 15th 2017 @ 12:43pm
      Tooly said | November 15th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

      Don’t forget that we played two draws against them .

      AS need Jake White .

    • November 15th 2017 @ 4:18pm
      DavSA said | November 15th 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

      “especially CJ Stander who was the best South African-born player on the pitch” …….enuff said.

      SA supporters I believe have finally had enough. We do not see this as much more than the wrongdoings of a few people who have hijacked the game here. Without exception every person I have spoken to will not be watching the France game , myself included . Time to express ourselves in ways that SARU will understand.

      But same time I will not try and take away the glory that Ireland deserves.They looked very complete and are going to be a threat to any side in the world for years to come.

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