Ireland's Donnacha Ryan tackles South Africa's Willem
Alberts during their rugby union test at the Aviva Stadium
in Dublin. (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)
South Africa have come from behind to beat Ireland 16-12
in a clash of two injury-hit sides at the Aviva Stadium in
Dublin to get a month when the seedings for the 2015 World Cup
will be decided off to a solid start.
The Springboks, defending their top-four world ranking in the
first of three November tests and without a string of first
team regulars, trailed 12-3 at the break when Jonathan Sexton
kicked the hosts into a commanding lead.
Ireland failed to profit from the visitors losing JP
Pietersen to a yellow card before the break but South Africa
made no mistake after Jamie Heaslip was sent to the sin bin
and a Ruan Pienaar try together with the boot of Pat Lambie
saw them home.
The inexperienced hosts, missing first-team regulars Brian
O'Driscoll, Rob Kearney, Paul O'Connell, Stephen Ferris, Sean
O'Brien and Rory Best, were in total control early on and
inched ahead thanks to two Sexton penalties in the opening
South Africa, whose own injury crisis continued into the
morning of the game when they lost prop Tendai Mtawarira to a
recurrence of mild heart palpitations, cut the lead in half
minutes later when Lambie slotted over an easy three points.
They were made pay for giving away their fifth penalty inside
the first 20 minutes when Sexton restored the six-point
advantage and after Lambie failed with his second shot at
goal, Sexton made it four successful kicks from four on the
The game then swung on the two yellow cards, the first dished
out to Pietersen for a shoulder charge on Irish flanker Chris
Henry that almost kicked off a 30-man brawl but ultimately
saw the Irish fail to take advantage.
South Africa showed how it should be done when the tables
were turned early in the second half and Ireland were reduced
to 14 men when number eight Heaslip, captaining his country
for the first time, was sent to the sin bin for pulling down
Already deep in opposition territory, the Springboks piled
the pressure on and scrumhalf Pienaar, who plays his rugby in
Ireland with Ulster, dived over the line for the game's only
try. Lambie's conversion trimmed the advantage to two.
By the time Heaslip returned, his side's nine-point lead had
become a one point deficit thanks to another Lambie penalty.
Sexton missed a long-range opportunity to get back on top on
the hour and Lambie also left a kick short before making it
16-12 after the South African scrum bullied their opposite
eight into submission.
Ireland, who handed debuts to two front rowers including
South African native Richardt Strauss and fielded four
players starting an international for just the second time,
never threatened after that and ended a poor second half
Declan Kidney's side may now need to defeat Argentina, buoyed
by Saturday's comprehensive 26-12 win over Six Nations
champions Wales, in two weeks time if they are to stay in the
top eight and secure a second-rank seeding.
South Africa, who face Scotland next weekend before taking on
England a week later, need a good tour to stay among the
leading four ranked sides and ensure a top seeding for the
2015 World Cup when the draw is made next month.