Ireland were too good for South Africa in Dublin, scoring four tries in a convincing 38-3 victory on Saturday.
South Africa look likely to beat Ireland to hosting Rugby World Cup 2023 – but on the field Joe Schmidt’s men appear some distance ahead of the rebuilding Springboks.
Andrew Conway set things in motion, snatching Conor Murray’s bouncing ball high bomb clean away from three defenders, before racing into the corner.
What they saidIreland head coach Joe Schmidt: “It is incredibly satisfying to go out, watch the players bring the energy and accuracy, most of the time, that they did.”South Africa head coach Allister Coetzee: “Our inconsistency for me is something I’d like to see improve in a big way. The Jekyll and Hyde element, at times we play well. It’s difficult to explain (the defeat); there are no positives from our side to be honest.”
Tweet of the match
Star man – Andrew Conway
The winger was a constant thorn in the side of an overpowered Springboks team and he constantly carved through the South African defensive line, scoring the first try and played a significant role in two others.
Moment of the match
Rhys Ruddock’s try nine minutes from time wrapped up victory but it was the build-up play that made it. Robbie Henshaw broke the Springboks line and the ball was flung wide to Andrew Conway, who was stopped just short of the line but quick ball saw Ruddock bulldoze over from close range.
Ireland dominated an out-of-sorts South Africa in Dublin and it was with a mix of flair and brute force. They bossed the breakdown, their kicking game had the Springboks in disarray and when they spun the ball wide, especially to Conway, they had South Africa in tatters. And as South Africa tired in the last quarter, they were clinical in their finishing. On this form Ireland will take some stopping in the Six Nations.
Ireland’s change of strip to navy with green stripes on the shoulder was remarkably similar to that of the Springboks and made it difficult to distinguish between the two sides at the Aviva Stadium.
Player ratingsIreland: Rob Kearney 7, Andrew Conway 9, Robbie Henshaw 7, Bundee Aki 7, Jacob Stockdale 7, Johnny Sexton 7, Conor Murray 8, Cian Healy 7, Rory Best 8, Tadhg Furlong 8, Iain Henderson 8, Devin Toner 7, Peter O’Mahony 8, CJ Stander 8, Sean O’Brien 8. Replacements: Late scores from Rhys Ruddock and Rob Herring underpinned Ireland’s well-deployed bench 8
Who’s up next?
Ireland v Fiji, Dublin, Test match, Saturday, November 18
France v South Africa, Paris, Test match, Saturday, November 18