The result of the match corresponded to it – 13:8. So little, it could look like total boredom. No, it was the most dramatic match of the Rugby World Cup held in France so far.
At the start, the fast lines of the South African Republic crushed their Irish counterparts. But the longer the match lasted, the more luck turned to the side of the Irish. In addition, the South African “Springboks” showed one huge weakness – bad goal kicks.
South Africa and Ireland are currently regarded as the two best teams in world rugby and their World Cup group stage clash at the Stade de France on Saturday night could even be seen as a premature final.
In the end, after a huge battle, Ireland defeated reigning champions South Africa 13-8 thanks mainly to Mack Hansen’s five and the subsequent conversion (kick) by Johnny Sexton. At the same time, things did not look good for the Irish from the beginning. They had a big problem with the intense game of the South Africans, whose ranks were dominated by the small but agile Faf De Klerk, the powerful Eben Etzebeth or Pieter-Steph Du Toit.
Ireland had problems with the formation at the beginning, and therefore already in the sixth minute after a free kick by Mania Libbek, they were losing 0:3. But it gradually stabilized and began to subtly turn the game around. In the 35th minute, after the aforementioned action by Hansen and Sexton’s conversion, it was suddenly 7-3 for Ireland.
At the start of the second half in the 51st minute, the Springboks turned the tide for a moment when their first five was laid by the amazingly quick scorpion Cheslin Kolbe. However, the South Africans missed the kick, so the score remained very close at 8:7 for South Africa. And it lasted only eight minutes. Then came Sexton’s penalty and Ireland led 10-8.
It wasn’t over yet. The JAR team could have turned it around, but Manie Libbek and Faf de Klerk missed penalties shortly after each other. It could have been 14:6 for the South Africans, but if rugby wasn’t even played.
Instead, Jack Crowley’s penalty at the other end secured a 13-8 win for Ireland as the Springboks failed to go the last seven meters to the goal line just before the end.
The victory goes to the Irish, as they are already practically the winners of Group B and would not have to face the host France in the quarter-finals. But it won’t be a big win for the Springboks anyway, because if they don’t run into the home favorites, they will most likely face the super-strong New Zealand.