Ireland, the top ranked team in the world, edged world champions South Africa 19-16 in a thrilling Test in Dublin.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi rued a number of missed opportunities following their heart-breaking 19-16 defeat against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday evening and said they would work hard to improve on their mistakes ahead of next week’s Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match against France.
The teams were level at 6-6 at half-time, and both sides scored two tries after the break, but Ireland’s three penalty goals to only two by the Springboks saw the hosts clinch the narrow three-point victory.
“One obviously wants to win every game you play, but the reality is that we played against Ireland away in front of a capacity crowd at the Aviva Stadium, and we lost by three points,” said Nienaber.
“We had opportunities that we didn’t capitalise on, but we’ll take the learnings from this match and fix that which we have to next week.”
Nienaber added: “The difference tonight was that Ireland used all the chances they created, and we didn’t. There were some good things and other areas that were not so good, and we’ll work on that as we prepare for the Test against France.”
An equally disappointed Kolisi said: “Ireland were well prepared and they made plans with our momentum. They are a dangerous team, and they took their opportunities, while we didn’t.
“They came hard at us in the collisions, and unfortunately, we were unable to get our maul going. That said, I thought our defence was good and we stuck to our guns in that department.”
Nienaber said one could not make references between this match and next year’s Rugby World Cup pool game.
“I don’t think this result will have any significance on the Rugby World Cup. It was good preparation, and we learned a lot, but the result only makes a difference to the momentum a team can build,” the Bok coach said.
The hosts tries came through Josh van der Flier and Mack Hansen whilst Franco Mostert and Kurt-Lee Arendse went over for the Springboks.
“That is the keyword ‘Test’ match!” said Ireland captain Johnny Sexton.
“South Africa put you under so much pressure with their physicality but we dug in there and pulled it off and the pack did a brilliant job.
“We fronted up, we always do. We did not play our best but they did not let us.
“They are in our World Cup pool in a neutral venue. It will be a hell of a game.
On the injury front, Nienaber was concerned about the shoulder injury sustained by lock Lood de Jager, and said the extent of the injury will only be revealed following a proper medical assessment.
Looking ahead at the Test against France, Kolisi said the Boks had to improve in the lineouts and scrums, in particular.
The Springboks will depart for France on Sunday morning to begin their preparations for next week’s Test at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, while the SA ‘A’ coaches and touring squad will assemble in Cork in Ireland late in the afternoon.
Ireland 16 [Tries: Van der Flier, Hansen; Pens: Sexton 3] South Africa 19 [Tries: Mostert, Arendse; Pens: Willemse, Kolbe]
Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Robert Baloucoune, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Conor Murray, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jimmy O’Brien.
South Africa: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Deon Fourie, 22 Francois de Klerk, 23 Willie le Roux.
Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England