Six Nations champions Ireland humbled South Africa 29-15 at the Aviva Stadium in an international Test match in Dublin on Saturday. It took 37 minutes before the Springboks could even make a dent on the scoreboard in wet conditions in the capital of the Republic of Ireland.
Handre Pollard’s penalty reduced the score to 6-3 after Jonathan Sexton had slotted two three-pointers in the first 23 minutes. After just one second stanza minute Rhys Ruddock crossed the line to increase the Irish advantage. Sexton’s conversion made it a 10-point match.
The South Africans were not going to just lie down and fought back. Heyneke Meyer’s men were duly rewarded when Marcell Coetzee scored and after Pollard’s conversion, an intriguing final 23 minutes lay in wait with the score at 13-10. Five minutes later Sexton slotted another penalty as Joe Schmidt’s side were setting themselves up to move in for the kill.
With ten minutes to go Sexton extended the lead to 19-10 and the tourists were starting to sweat with time running out. The match was put to bed a minute later when wing Tommy Bowe went over in the corner to all but secure Ireland’s first win over the Boks since a 1510 triumph in 2009 at Croke Park. Sexton converted and added another penalty five minutes later to make it look like a true hiding at 29-10.
JP Pietersen would score a consolation for the visitors in what was effectively the last move of the match but it was genuinely too little, too late. Schmidt’s men face Georgia next week, while it hardly gets any easier for Meyer, who must prepare his troops for a Twickenham trip to face England.