This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 3 June, 2020


52,139 Views 76 Comments

IRELAND’S SEASON GETS underway with the visit of the second best team in the world to Dublin.

Joe Schmidt is missing some key players, while South Africa’s most recent fixture saw them beat the All Blacks. The odds are against Ireland, but Schmidt will be planning for nothing less than victory.

Kick-off at the Aviva Stadium is at 17.30.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the match. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

You may need to refresh the page for YouTube videos and other elements to display correctly.

Welcome along to the Aviva Stadium, from where we will be bringing you updates as Joe Schmidt’s side look to begin their season with victory over a hugely powerful South Africa side.

We’re under two hours away from kick-off, so feel free to let us know what you’re thinking about this game in the comments section below. Ireland for a home win? Or do the Boks simply have too much quality?

General view of Robbie Henshaw's and Jared Payne's jerseys in the changing room Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It’s a huge evening for the men wearing these shirts for Ireland. Jared Payne makes his international debut at 13, while the inexperienced Robbie Henshaw lines out at inside centre.

There will be lots of attention on their performances in midfield, and on how they combine as a pairing.

Any update on Chris Henry? reader Stephen McMeel has asked the question we’re waiting for an official answer on. The IRFU told us earlier today that there was no change to the Ireland 23, before later saying there was “no clarity on any issue with a player” in the group.

The teamsheets usually land in at around 4.30 so we may have to wait until then for any injury to be officially confirmed.

The Boks are here. Jean de Villiers strides out at the Aviva Stadium to take in the surroundings.

Jean de Villiers arrives Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

We’re just catching the final 10 minutes of England’s clash with New Zealand here on TV at the Aviva before heading up to the stands. An excellent game, and by the sounds of things, Wales v Australia is even better.

Turning attention back to Dublin, how do you see Ireland’s game going? Get your predictions into us…

There’s Paulie. We’re really relishing his line-out battle with Victor Matfield in this game. Two brilliant readers of the set-piece and both are supreme jumpers. Who will come out on top?

Paul O'Connell arrives for the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

That late injury news leaves the Ireland team looking like this:

IRELAND: Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Jared Payne, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell (capt.); Peter O’Mahony, Rhys Ruddock, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Dave Kilcoyne, Rodney Ah You, Mike McCarthy, Tommy O’Donnell, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Felix Jones.

And the Boks team:

SOUTH AFRICA: Willie le Roux; Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana; Handré Pollard, Francois Hougaard; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis; Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield; Marcell Coetzee, Teboho Mohoje, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacementss: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Burger, Cobus Reinach, Patrick Lambie, JP Pietersen.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal, Alexandre Ruiz (both France)

Television Match Official: Jim Yuille (Scotland)

It’s a chilly night in Dublin, but the rain has cleared away, meaning conditions are fine for this match. Didn’t look like being that way earlier today!

Hey folks. Murray Kinsella drew the short straw and has the worst internet connectivity in the Aviva Stadium at the moment, so it’s Sean Farrell here to take you through the game.

We’re in the middle of the anthems now, so stand up and sing.

Great atmosphere around the ground as we reach the halfway point in Ireland’s anthems. Just one to go now, ‘The Call’.


That’s the sound of fireworks telling the marching band it’s time to get the F off the pitch because it’s time to play rugby.

Handre Pollard will kick us off.

Romaine Poite finally sorts his mic out and the crowd roar as he reaches the middle of the pitch.

KICK-OFF: Toner rises to take the kick off and Ireland respond with a high bom of their own. Knocked on and Ireland have the ball.

1 minute - Murray Kinsella here back again after some wifi issues! Thanks for being patient.

Ireland are on the attack around 30 metres from the Boks line, then Sexton launches a bomb! Superbly taken by le Roux though and he was tackled in the air by Kearney, according to referee Poite. Clear sign of the Ireland tactics!

3 minutes - Ireland really turning on the pressure at the ruck early on, forcing Pollard onto the back foot and into a poor kick to Zebo. Ireland flow back into attacking mode on the halfway line…

4 minutes - Nice footwork from Henshaw as he carries in midfield! He really does get to the soft shoulder. Lively stuff from Ireland, before Sexton kicks it deep into the Boks 22 and le Roux clears to touch.

A throw for Schmidt’s men 30 metres out, on the right. Good, solid start.

5 minutes - Poite is having a look with his TMO as a “charge” by Marcell Coetzee on Heaslip. Did he lead with the elbow?

5 minutes – Poite says it’s fine! Instead, we go back for a South African knock-on, so Ireland do get a scrum 10 metres inside the Boks half…

6 minutes - Solid scrum from Ireland and they play off it to the right, freeing Kearney to dink a grubber behind the Boks front line D. Bowe almost grabs the bouncing ball, but it’s into touch and an Ireland throw as well…

7 minutes - Free kick to Ireland for numbers in the line-out. Ireland had played a lovely loop move from the original set-piece, with Henshaw showing nice hands to return the ball to Murray.

Play is called back though and Ireland opt to scrum…

8 minutes - Scrum penalty to Ireland! 24 metres out on the right, looks like du Plessis got pinged for going straight to deck.

Sexton to have a shot at goal…

PENALTY! Ireland 3-0 South Africa (Sexton ’9)

11 minutes - Ireland survive the Boks attempts to hit straight back, recovering from a big linebreak by Serfontain to scramble in D and clean up. They are fighting for everything at the breakdown, some excellent work in that area of the game so far.

12 minutes – The Boks kick into Ireland’s left corner, and then steal the line-out! Pressure on here…

13 minutes – Le Roux threatens against, but O’Mahony does a wonderful job tackling him and then Bowe drags Habana into touch wide on the left. Superb defence! Ireland with the line-out again, this time Cronin finds his man.

But the Boks steal it on the deck!

14 minutes – Massive noise in the Aviva as Ireland clear their lines! Hougaard lost the ball as the base of the ruck just metres from the home team’s tryline and Sexton hacked it clear along the ground. The out-half sprinted on for another touch of the ball to fire it into touch on halfway.

16 minutes – Ireland attempt to play the ball out of their own half, with Murray threatening around the fringes after a clever involvement from Bowe. The passage ends with Ireland off their feet, however, and Pollard will have a shot at goal from around 47 metres out…

17 minutes - Pollard drags it wide to the left!

19 minutes – Lots and lots of kicking so far, with both sides launching garryowens into the Dubin sky. Pollard is mixing in some clever wiper kicks behind Ireland’s wings as well, just keeping the home team pinned back a little so far.

20 minutes – Ireland deal with the latest onslaught from the Boks. They are so, so powerful in the collisions. But Ireland just keep scrapping and then Serfontein knocks on in the middle of the pitch, under Ireland’s posts.

Meyer’s men winning the contact so far, but Ireland coping well and competing ferociously at the breakdown.

22 minutes – Big break from Kearney up the middle! And Ireland flood forward, forcing the Boks to concede a penalty for not releasing. Kearney is on fire from fullback so far. His break leads to Sexton’s second chance off the tee, wide on the left and 24 metres out…

PENALTY! Ireland 6-0 South Africa (Sexton ’24)

25 minutes – Ireland lose out on the restart there, knocking on. Positive stuff overall so far, though. Huge collisions in this game.

26 minutes - Jack McGrath is pinged at the scrum for not pushing straight. The Boks go down the left touchline and will look to build from 10 metres out…

27 minutes – Ireland turn over the maul! Looked to be heading towards the Irish tryline after being initially stopped, but Poite had already called for the scrum to Ireland. Superb maul defence!

28 minutes – McGrath again penalised at the scrum, and the Boks opt for the corner despite what looks like an easy three points. Ireland defend the maul expertly once again and Hougaard knocks on at the tail as Etzebeth transfers the ball.

Can Ireland finally clear their lines now?

30 minutes – Bismarck du Plessis flops straight over the ruck and concedes the penalty as Ireland look to set up their exit! Mindless stuff and Sexton is able to fire the ball into touch close to Ireland’s 10-metre line. Finally the pressure lifts!

31 minutes – Sexton goes cross-field to Toner on second phase after Ireland had spread the ball wide to the left. The lock taps the ball back inside… directly into Etzebeth’s hands! Ireland scramble again and O’Mahony knocks on as he looks to intercept the Boks second row’s pass.

33 minutes – Poite is really going at South Africa at the breakdown. It’s du Plessis again who is penalised, this time in attack as he enters from the side. The refereeing is certainly suiting Ireland in that sector of the game.

Sexton launches the kick down the left and Ireland are just about into the Boks half…

34 minutes – Fair point on the Boks tactics so far?

They’re back in the Ireland 22 now, but Schmidt’s men swarm all over them to half the maul. And they win the turnover! It’s a mess of bodies, but Ireland were going forward. More great defensive work.

36 minutes – Kearney clears with a big left boot to find touch close to Ireland’s 10-metre line. It has to be said that Ireland’s scrum is struggling, with McGrath having been pinged a few times now on the loosehead side.

So much territorial dominance for the Boks in this game, but no points return yet.

37 minutes – Ireland concede a penalty straight in front of the posts after coming up in defence before the ball was out. O’Connell the man penalised, although he clearly disagrees with Poite’s decision.

Here’s Pollard…

PENALTY! Ireland 6-3 South Africa (Pollard ’38)

40 minutes – Another poor line-out from Ireland as they lose the ball at the front. That’s the last passage of the half…

HALF TIME: Ireland 6-3 South Africa!


Ireland 13 South Africa 3 We’re having highly-frustrating internet issues at the Aviva, but in the meantime, Ireland have scored a try.

Ruddock got over the whitewash before Sexton tacked on the extra points. What a start to the second half.

51 minutes – Thanks for your patience regarding the wifi issues here at the Aviva. Ireland have had a really excellent opening 10 minutes to this half, scoring that excellent try and defending solidly again. Schmidt’s men out-smarting the Boks so far.

TRY! South Africa respond with a maul of their own. Coetzee grounding.


– PENALTY! Ireland 16-10 South Africa (Sexton ’62)

Jonny Sexton successfully slots over what could prove to be a crucial penalty to give Ireland some breathing space.


Bakkies Botha has replaced Eben Etzebeth for South Africa for the final few minutes.

The Irish players certainly won’t enjoy the sight of him coming on.



Rob Kearney knocks on from a high ball but Adriaan Strauss jumps into him as he does so.

The South Africa man gets sin-binned as a result of this infringement, and now South Africa will have to play the vast majority of the remainder of this game with 14 men.


PENALTY! Ireland 19-10 South Africa (Sexton ’70)

Ireland take full advantage of their extra man, as a spell of heavy pressure finally pays off.

The hosts win a penalty that’s more or less in front of the posts, and Sexton keeps his cool to slot over.


Conor Murray produces a lovely kick through and Tommy Bowe latches on to it and dives over to put Ireland into a substantial lead.

Sexton makes no mistake with the conversion.


Ireland are emptying out the bench — Madigan and McCarthy are among those on, with Toner and Kearney off.

Surely they can’t lose this now.


PENALTY! Ireland 29-10 South Africa (Madigan ’77)

Substitute Ian Madigan has just put the game beyond all doubt (if there was any left) with a masterfully executed penalty.

Jonny Sexton has gotten a well-deserved man-of-the-match award.


South Africa finally score a try, as le Roux makes a break, before playing in Pietersen.

However, it makes little difference, as the referee blows the final whistle more or less immediately thereafter.

Right, that’s all from us for now, on what is destined to be remembered as a memorable victory for Ireland.

Thanks for reading and commenting, and stay tuned, as we’ll have plenty more reaction to follow.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella