Magnificent Irish maul Springboks
The world may later this week recognise South Africa as great hosts but as tourists the Springboks under Allister Coetzee are going nowhere.
They still only have one win on the road under his stewardship following a crushing defeat last night to Ireland in the first of four tests on their European tour.
They needed to win to set the tone for the remainder of the tour and ease the pressure on the perennially under the cosh coach.
With Rassie Erasmus back in the country Coetzee and his coaching staff will instead wing their way to Paris today, in contemplative mood.
On a crisp autumn evening, the Boks’ game again appeared frozen in time as they frittered possession because of poor application, while their ambitionless kicking in the first half was at times mystifying.
They went scoreless in the first half - the third time this year they suffered the ignominy of not registering points in a half of rugby.
Much of the pre match talk centred around Rugby World Cup hosting rights and who’s who in the zoo on the world rankings, but when it came down to the on field stuff Ireland, despite last playing in March looked the sprightlier, if not better prepared.
As much as Coetzee talked up the prospect of an aerial bombardment on his back three, it were his players who went to the air with greater regularity, and lamentably less effectiveness.
It failed to make an impression on the hosts especially with Jacob Stockdale and Co standing their ground.
Ireland played with greater vigour and vitality, vacating their defensive lines with zeal, smothering Springbok ball carriers.
It made for forced errors, while lateral running soon becoming the order of the day.
It does little for the Bok cause when Ross Cronje releases after a step or two.
The Irish tidal wave defence made players like Damian de Allende look short of a gallop and it also helped bring about the first Bok casualty.
Coenie Oosthuizen having just got off the physio’s table looks destined to return there.
He was helped off in the second minute after the Irish defence knocked the Boks onto the backfoot.
To add insult, Ireland won a penalty off the resultant scrum.
By the time Jonathan Sexton succeeded with this third, albeit eminently kickable penalty, the the Boks were up against it.
The task facing them grew greater in dimension when Courtnall Skosan made a hash of collecting the high ball.
To be fair, the Bok maul had just been exposed and Skosan’s hamfisted attempt resulted in an easy touchdown for Andrew Conway.
Ireland, ruthlessly efficient in most of their pursuits applied the squeeze on the Boks in the confined spaces, while displaying greater nous when they were occasionally backed up into a corner.
Their resolute maul defence springs to mind.For the Boks this was another lamentable performance.IRELAND (14) 38Tries: Andrew Conway, Rhys Ruddock, Rob Herring, Jacob Stockdale. Conversions: Jonathan Sexton, Joey Carbery (2). Penalties: Sexton (4)SOUTH AFRICA (0) 3Penalty: Elton Jantjies