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South Africa 27-20 Ireland: first rugby union Test – as it happened
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South Africa 27-20 Ireland: first rugby union Test – as it happened

The report has just dropped from a crazy, topsy-turvy Test.

That was great fun. I hope you enjoyed it! It certainly sets up next week’s showdown in Durban. Both sides with plenty to work on but both sides can still be proud of their performance.

Thanks for hanging.

Til next time…

Game of fine margins. I think this sums up that Test for me.

There have been a few injuries picked up today.

ON the causality list is England’s prop Joe Marler who is a doubt for the second Test against New Zealand next week.

How about some thoughts from the main men?

Here’s Ireland’s captain, Peter O’Mahoney speaking to Sky Sports:

“It was a tough battle. We knew it was going to be very, very difficult here. There are a lot of positives to take out of their postives, but there were little bits here and there that a side like the Springboks are going to punish.

“We knew coming in that there was going to be a bit of a tweak to the Springboks’ approach. Certainly, they are playing a bit more expansively. We’ll have a look.”

While we wait for the match report to land, why not have a refresher on the earlier Tests:

Here’s the moment where the game was won.

A penalty try in a seven point contest. Talk about a statement!

What a weird game. Ireland can count themselves unlucky and were it not for a few slips from Lowe they just might have.

Then again, the Springboks, with a more reliable goal kicker on the night, as well as greater accuracy on attack, could have won that at a canter.

So, fair result? This will need a second viewing. What an extraordinary game.

What do you reckon? Would you have chalked this off? Some debate around this and I reckon it’s not the last we’ll hear of it.

I hope James Lowe doesn’t beat himself up too much. Sure it was his mistake that led to the Springboks’ penalty try from the scrum, and sure it was his mistake that saw Kolbe canter in for an against-the-run-of-play try, but he was magnificent for the rest of the game.

Such fine margins at this level.

Bout sums it up.

South Africa hold on! What a remarkable end to a pulsating game between the world’s two best teams.

Unreal stuff. It was a scrappy affair for much if the contest but like two heavyweights with the bell nearing, they unfurled knockout attempts from fatiguing legs.

In the end it was South Africa who triumphed and probably deserved it.

What is going on!? This game is breaking apart. Suddenly Ireland are up the field into the corner with Baird diving over. The ball fell off the tee just as Crowley went to convert so he shanks it wide. Seven point game with seconds left on the clock.

That is a statement! Wow! With the game in the balance, the Springboks scrum consumes the Irish pack, steaming forward and securing a penalty try from just five metres out. Kelleher also receives a yellow card.

77 min: Lowe fumbles the restart so South Africa have a five metre scrum. How costly might that prove? If he let that bounce it would have bobbled over the dead ball line. Instead the Boks have a chance to close this game out.

Is there a twist in the tail? Ireland make a break through the middle with Murray on a lovely support line. He gets the ball on the inside and is clean away under the poles. The conversion is taken quickly and it’s a five point game.

74 min: Held up! Oh what drama! It’ll be a goal-line drop-out for South Africa. Dorris thought he dotted the ball down over the line but he placed it on a South African’s leg. No try is the decision after a review!

South Africa will finish the game with 14 men. Arendse makes his way for straying off side in a desperate attempt to repel the Irish. But mostly as a consequence of repeat offences in the red zone.

74 min: Ireland are son close. Five out with a penalty advantage. So many big carries. So many big tackles. Can they get over the line?

72 min: Ireland win the line-out and set an attack down the line. South Africa’s rush defence disrupts their flow but Ireland have a free-kick as the Boks had one too many bodies in the line-out. Sloppy.

71 min: Another penalty for Ireland. Another nudge into touch from Crowley. Ireland with another line-out, this time about five metres out.

70 min: Du Toit gets up at the line-out and taps the ball back onto South Africa’s side. That was a big moment for Ireland. Pollard slices his clearing kick out of touch. So Ireland get another line-out inside the Boks’ 22.

69 min: Ireland are starting to get a little frantic. They’ll have a penalty after Aki is put under pressure illegally at the ruck – side entries there. It’s tense, players on both sides get involved in a bit of shoving and pulling after the whistle. It calms down and Crowley lands a wonderful touch finder about 10 out.

68 min: Ireland botch a line-out and South Africa get their hands on the ball and shunt it up field.

After missing three kicks in a row, Pollard nails a tough conversion. Is that the game.

A try from nothing! Kolbe has poached a try that he had no right to score. Pollard, from the penalty after the scrum, misses touch. Lowe keeps the ball alive and Kolbe pounces on the loose ball, kicking it forward and then bursting onto it. He picks up, continues to steam ahead and slides over.

There’s a question if Lowe managed to keep it in play. He did. It’s his brilliance that proves his undoing. Had he been less effective, it would be a South African line-out. Instead it’ll be a South African try.

64 min: We’re back and it’s a South African penalty from the scrum.

“Should we be impressed by the second half so far?!” asks John Ryan.

No. I think it’s been pretty poor if you ask me. A wonderful opening half hour has been wiped out by a sloppy second half.

Casey is being taken off the field on a stretcher as he receives oxygen.

But he gives a thumbs up to the ground.

63 min: Casey copped a nasty blow to the head as he landed on the hard ground. No foul play. Just an awkward landing and he’s now receiving medical attention.

64 min: Scrappy yet again. Ireland secured the ball and carried it into midfield but a rush defence and pressure at the breakdown means the ball is spilled. Both teams make attempts to swipe the ball back on their side. In the end it’s an Irish knock-on that brings that passage to a close so South Africa will have the scrum feed just beyond their own 22.

63 min: Casey lands a 50:22 kick. Things are just starting to go Ireland’s way. Momentum is definitely swinging towards the emerald green. Now they have the line-out throw inside the Boks’ 22.

61 min: Ireland have the ball inside their own 22. They’re starting to grow into this game. So much for altitude fatigue, eh? But now South Africa have the ball back with Williams, on for de Klerk, box kicking high into the dark Pretoria sky. Crowley returns the favour. Cagey stuff at the minute.

60 min: Pollard misses his third kick at goal. That was by some distance.

60 min: Try chalked off! Huge moment. And a let off for South Africa. Kelleher was heavily involved in the succesful counter ruck that stole the ball back for Ireland a moment before Lowe cantered up field, but he was on the ground as he flicked his foot at the ball to get it back on his side. Small margins, but them’s the breaks.

Source: theguardian.com