The Irish beat South Africa 8-13 in a historic World Cup match
The ‘Springboks’ could have won, but they missed many chances with their foot
Ireland defeated South Africa 8-13 this Saturdaythe current world champion, in an anthological duel in which she showed her credentials as a serious contender for the World Cup in France.
The result of this high-voltage match at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, which could have perfectly been a final due to the quality of the contenders and their play, puts Ireland at the top of Group B and with options to achieve a most accessible rival in the quarterfinals.
The duel could have gone to South Africa, but the “Springboks” will have nightmares due to the errors in their kicks, with a total of four errors (three penalty hits and one transformation).
The duel between the world champion and the winner of the last Six Nations pitted the two teams that top the world ranking against each other, and despite the short score it met expectations for the class and intensity of the game.
The matches between both teams usually offer short scores and this one showed why: the defenses were heroic, the scrums were titanic duels and, despite very good attacking plays, the defenders were the protagonists.
South Africa struck first, with a penalty shot converted by Manie Libbok (m.5), after Ireland started strangely with many inaccuracies in throw-ins, which offered repeated opportunities to their rivals.
Ireland recovered and in the 13th minute Hugo Keenan was tackled just over a meter from the try line, after a pass from Johnny Sexton, who faked the delivery twice to confuse the South Africans and amaze the public.
Much of the rest of the first half was spent with Irish attempts to score, stopped by a South African defense that established itself as a real fortress.
Finally, and after a few minutes of authentic Irish harassment in the vicinity of the rival try line, Mack Hansen scored (m.33) and Sexton did not fail in the transformation (3-7).
With this result, the break was reached and the pattern was maintained upon resumption, with intense attacks by both sides that were contained by the solid defenses of both sides.
A key moment came in the 48th minute, when South African Faf de Klerk hit a post with a penalty shot that seemed to go in..
But the Boks were undaunted and continued to harass until Kolbe received a solo pass and scored a try. This time it was Manie Libbok who kicked the transforming shot and, despite being a very reliable thrower, he missed again. South Africa led 8-7.
Ireland regained the lead with a penalty shot from their star Sexton (m.59) to put the score at 8-10.
South Africa’s shooting curse continued when Libbok again missed a penalty shot in the 63rd minute, and continued with another error by De Klerk just three minutes later..
Denied before the posts, the “Boks” went all out to try to score a try, but their attempts were stopped by the tenacious Irish defense.
After a few minutes of real stress, the Clover XV regained the initiative and took the game to South African territory. As a result, Ireland scored a penalty shot (Crowley, m.77) to put the score at 8-13.
With time almost up, the South Africans approached just two meters from the try line to tie the game and perhaps win it with the transformation, but the Irish defense, once again, saved the victory in the final seconds.
A victory that was cheered enthusiastically by the thousands of Irish fans who traveled to Paris for this beautiful duel.
The match, which could have been a final, was curiously the first time that both oval powers met in a World Cup.