Boks pass the Test
Allister Coetzee’s men snatch victory from the jaws of defeat after it seemed as if they were finished
What a relief! After a disastrous start to his campaign the Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, as well as the whole of South Africa can breathe a sigh of relief after the Springboks beat Ireland in the third Test last night. The victory meant that the Boks win the series by two Tests to one after they went down against all expectations in the first Test at Newlands in Cape Town.
Last week at Ellis Park in Johannesburg Coetzee’s men had to pull out all the stops in the final 20 minutes. They managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat after it seemed as if they were dead and buried late in the second half.
Even though it was a bit better than the first two Test matches, South Africa last night once again didn’t immediately assert themselves from the start. They still made too many needless errors and gave away silly penalties. The Irish enjoyed a bit more of the territory and possession which they converted into points.
After the controversy in the first Test at Newlands when South African born Irish loose forward CJ Stander was sent off with a red card for a dangerous challenge on Pat Lambie, fullback Willie le Roux was involved in a similar incident.
Scrum-half Faf de Klerk put up the box kick and Le Roux made the chase. He took out his opposite number Tiernan O’Halloran in the air - the Ireland fullback landing nastily.
South Africans feared the worst. Le Roux however was only given a yellow card. He could however consider himself very lucky given how strict officials have been on that sort of foul recently.
It was when Le Roux was off the field that Ireland capitalised on the situation and scored their first try of the game after a period of sustained pressure.
The Boks however finished strongly in the first half and started putting together some really good phases. Unlike in the previous two Tests, loose forwards Siya Kolisi and Francois Louw and Warren Whiteley managed to assert themselves at the breakdown. They carried the ball up strongly and managed to force a few turnovers.
A superb cross field kick by the creative flyhalf Elton Jantjies just before halftime found the outstretched arms of winger JP Pietersen who galloped over for the Bok’s first try. Pietersen was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match award, not only for his try, but also for his brilliant all-round performance.
The one aspect of their play that the Boks improved on from the previous two outings was their dominance at scrum time. The most experienced Bok on the field Beast Mtawarira looked particulary menacing at scrum time. This had the desired effect giving the Boks much needed front foot ball that they lacked in their previous two outings.
And when replacement props Steven Kitshoff and Julian Redelinghuys came on for Mtawarira and Frans Malherbe respectively, they made an immediate impact in the engine room.
South Africa had just 31 percent of the possession on the night, but in the end it they did enough to secure the victory in an incredibly tense Test match, which was nail biting to the end.
MOVING FORWARD Ruan Combrinck of South Africa attempts to get past Matt Healy of Ireland during the 3rd Castle Lager Incoming Series Test match between South Africa and Ireland
19 (13) SOUTH AFRICA
13 (10) IRELAND