The Springboks were gutted about losing their tour-opener in a wet Dublin to a very good Ireland on Saturday and heaped praise on their hosts for a better performance in tricky conditions. Ireland won 29-15 – it was the Springboks’ first defeat to a side from the Northern Hemisphere since they lost to Scotland in November 2010. Both sides scored two tries apiece but the South Africans were made to pay for ill-discipline at crucial stages of the match as Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton slotted four penalty goals and two conversions for a personal haul of 16 points.
Marcell Coetzee scored the Boks’ first try from a rolling maul while JP Pietersen rounded off a good movement late in the match. Handré Pollard added a conversion and one penalty goal. “We are sorry that we let our country and our supporters down with that performance. The Irish deserve a lot of credit though – they played the conditions better and were tactically superior. We knew it was going to be a tough tussle and we were not good enough on the day. But we can’t afford to dwell too much on what is in the past. We have a massive game against England at Twickenham on Saturday and we simply have to show a massive improvement because they will be just as tough to beat at home,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer after the match.
Springbok captain Jean De Villiers echoed the sentiments of his coach, “Each and every player will have to take a hard look at himself, come back on Monday and work harder. Our standards are higher than what we showed against Ireland and we simply made too many errors. Yes, our first phase play was very good and I thought we dominated the scrums and the lineouts, but we didn’t retain the ball and you can’t play rugby without the ball.” The Springboks travel to London on Sunday, where they face England on Saturday.