Billy Stickland/INPHO
# winging it
Andrew Trimble can't wait to get back to 'the day job', after beating Boks as a flanker
‘I was there, taking the credit! Like I had anything to do with it all happening!’

HE EXCELLED AS a makeshift flanker against the Springboks at Newlands, but Andrew Trimble is looking forward to returning to his “day job” on the wing this week.

Down a blindside at scrum-time following CJ Stander’s early red card, Trimble was entrusted with packing down on the flank in a seven-man Irish pack.

“I think I’ll stick to the day job for now,” said the Ulster winger. “It was some experience, right enough, but I think I’d rather leave it there.”

Joe Schmidt’s attention to detail is well-known at this stage with Trimble revealing that the squad did prepare for the eventuality of being a man down in the forwards in the lead-up to the opening Test at Newlands:

“Believe it or not, we did actually look at the forward roles at one stage last week.

“I’m not sure if he [Schmidt] meant it seriously but even if he meant it as a little bit of a joke, there’s a little bit of seriousness there. There was one or two times on our scrums when I was torturing Jamie [Heaslip], trying to find out what I needed to do but it all pretty much fell into place at the end so happy enough.”

Andrew Trimble Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Trimble was central to an heroic Irish defensive effort during that eventful second-half with the home side limited to just one score; an intercept try from replacement lock Pieter-Steph du Toit.

The veteran Irish winger was even part of a crucial Irish scrum which yielded a late penalty that allowed Paddy Jackson to stretch Ireland’s lead to 23-13. Trimble certainly seemed to revel in being part of an eight-man shove, celebrating with Devin Toner after Mathieu Raynal had penalised the Boks pack.

“We did yes,” said Trimble on celebrating that 68th minute scrum penalty.

“Redser [Eoin Reddan] was giving me a hard time afterwards. All the clueless backs like myself came running in saying ‘well done, boys!’ I was there, taking the credit! Like I had anything to do with it all happening! Yeah, happy days.”

Trimble’s Ulster team-mate Jared Payne gave Ireland a new dimension from the fullback slot with this offloading game and calm authority in the backfield.

“Jared does what he does week in, week out at Ulster and Ireland as well,” he said.

“He’s such a talented player, he fills me with confidence at the end of the line; knowing he’s behind me; him telling me what to do, just pulling the strings.

“He talks up the game very well, he knows the game very well.

Springboks Lwazi Mvovo and Ireland’s Andrew Trimble Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

“Typically, if you follow him around the pitch you tend to get a few offloads so I managed to do that.  He’s a talented boy, everybody knows how talented he is and he’s done it again for us.”

Perhaps feeling the pressure after overseeing a first-ever loss against an Irish side on South African soil, Springboks head coach Allister Coetzee stated yesterday that the visitors “weren’t interested in playing” at Newlands.

Coetzee’s comments seemed all the more bizarre considering his side’s numerical superiority for the majority of the match.

“With 14 men it’s very difficult,” Trimble explained.

“We put on one or two new plays that we had preferred before the game, but roles change and it’s very difficult to organise things whenever you’ve got a winger on the flank and you’ve got no flanker.

It’s very difficult, it’s tough to play as much rugby as you’d have liked to have played.

“We were very clever, very streetwise and showed our experience being able to play the game with 14 men for 60 minutes, we’re very proud of what we did.”

Only New Zealand [1996] and the British and Irish Lions [1997] have claimed series victories against the Boks which tells you everything about the impending challenge over the next fortnight.

Trimble and his team-mates have a chance to make history at Ellis Park, but they know they must resist a brutal backlash from the stung hosts if they are to reach a summit where so many sides have failed to reach in the past.

“Other sides have struggled to do it. There’s a reason why they’ve struggled because it’s really, really difficult to do and for us to go out there again we need to produce another massive performance. Physically we need to be switched on, mentally we need to be switched on.

“Last week’s gone now. Certainly we enjoyed getting a few pats on the back but we’ve got another job to do now and it’s pretty exciting to be in a position to create another bit of history.”

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