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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 3 March 2021
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Ireland concede 29 second-half points as South Africa win second Test

There’s all to play for in the series next week.

Warren Whiteley scores against Quinn Roux.
Warren Whiteley scores against Quinn Roux.
Image: Themba Hadebe/AP/Press Association Images

​South Africa 32
Ireland 26

Rory Keane reports from Ellis Park

SOUTH AFRICA staged a stirring second-half comeback to level the three-Test series with Ireland at Ellis Park.

This was heart-breaking for Joe Schmidt’s side. A valiant display deserved more, but the power of the Boks and their impact of their bench told in a frantic final 20 minutes.

A super first-half display saw Ireland lead 19-3 at the break thanks to a superbly-worked try from Devin Toner and the nerveless kicking of the outstanding Paddy Jackson.

Source: Schalk van Zuydam

Jamie Heaslip’s try on the hour mark put Ireland into a 26-10 lead after substitute Ruan Combrinck had scored on​​ debut.

The Boks seized control in the final quarter with replacement flanker Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Damian de Allende all crossing to seal victory.

The venue for South Africa’s historic 1995 World Cup success where Nelson Mandela famously arrived onto the pitch wearing a Springbok jersey bearing the number of their captain Francois Pienaar, Ellis Park is an imposing fortress.

The Boks don’t lose very often here — a 68% win ratio going all the way back to 1928 — to be exact.

There was early signs of Irish nerves as Iain Henderson dropped a flat pass from Jared Payne handing the Boks an early scrum. The Irish pack splintered after an initial good hit as referee Angus Gardner awarded the first penalty of the match. The effect of the high altitude was immediately apparent as Jantjies fired over the 50-metre effort with plenty to spare to give his side an early 3-0 lead.

Ireland would recover, however, with Payne’s cut-out pass releasing Gilroy down the left wing and, after a period of advantage, Jackson stepped up to make it 3-3 from the tee after the Boks had strayed offside.

Having weathered the early storm, Ireland settled into the game plan and looked very impressive as they attacked in pods around the ruck. A powerful carry from Rhys Ruddock once again forced the Boks to infringe and Jackson fired over resulting penalty as the visitors took a 6-3 lead.

Jantjies then hung a delightful kick in the air which Willie le Roux gathered, Francois Louw carried hard off the next ruck and then Conor Murray was penalised for not rolling away.

The Boks turned down a shot and goal and went for the corner, Ireland resisted the driving maul and then came a huge moment; Damian de Allende swatted away Stuart Olding but Robbie Henshaw did brilliantly to rip the ball from the powerful Stormers centre. Handling errors from Adriaan Strauss and Lwazi Mvovo then handed Ireland some-much needed territory.

An absolute monster of a scrum followed from this young Irish pack. A huge boost for Furlong and Co with Jackson nailing the kick and Ireland lead 9-3.

Ireland continued to take the game to the Boks with Olding and Henderson punching it up before Payne went roaming on the edge with Jackson running an excellent trailing line onto the Kiwi’s offload. JP Pietersen was then done for not releasing. Jackson continued his faultless kicking display as Ireland raced into a nine-point lead.

Jantjies missed two shots at goal in quick succession as the Boks began to look ragged.

Jackson sent a high bomb on top of Mvovo with the Sharks winger once again making a hash of the catch, Trimble did brilliantly to scoop the loose ball away from the touchline into the hands of Payne who was hauled down metres short of the line. Ruddock, who was superb throughout the first half, then offloaded brilliantly to send Toner crashing over from close-range.

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Jackson fired over the conversion and Ireland were in dreamland leading 19-3. Incredible.

Faf de Klerk’s frustration boiled over as the Boks scrum-half came in at the side of the ruck to give Jackson his fifth penalty attempt of the evening. The Ulster number 10 narrowly missing the touchine effort.

The Ellis Park faithful made their feelings towards the home side known as the ran in at the break, a deafening chorus of boos ringing around the stadium.

Mvovo and Duane Vermeulen did not return for the second-half as Alllister Coetzee sent on the Lions pair of Warren Whiteley and Ruan Combrinck. The Boks went searching for an early try but handling errors from Siya Kolisi and then Le Roux put an end to some promising attacks.

Ireland continued to absorb waves of Springbok attacks as Toner and Rory Best effected a trademark ch0ke tackle on Louw with another powerful scrum following to relieve the pressure.

Source: Themba Hadebe

De Allende’s skip pass released Pietersen into space but Payne and Best did brilliantly to haul him down. A last-ditch tackle from Payne on Le Roux once again forced the ball to go the deck.

The Boks continued to come knocking, however, with debutant Combrinck powering over the despairing tackle of Jackson to cross in the corner after a scything break from Le Roux.

Jantjies converted from the touchline to make it 19-10.

Ireland came roaring back into the contest as Tadhg Furlong’s charge-down on De Klerk box-kick handed his side an attacking lineout. Toner rose high to claim the lineout, the pack set up the driving maul and Heaslip was there to power over. Jackson nailed the conversion as Ireland re-established their 16-point lead.

The contest continued to ebb and flow as hometown hero Whiteley crashed over in the corner, Jantjies dragged the conversion right and wide. Pieter-Steph du Toit then rumbled over from close-range and with Jantjies converting from in front of the posts, Ireland’s lead was cut to four points.

Having lead 26-10 midway through the second-half, Ireland were now holding on for dear life.

It was all one-way traffic as De Allende steamrolled over Murray’s attempted tackle to go cross in the 76th minute. Jantjies converted to make it 29-26.

Jantjies fired over a monster penalty to rub more salt into Irish wounds. Onward​s​ to Port Elizabeth we go, it promise​s​ to be one hell of a series decider.

South Africa scorers:
Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Damian de Allende
Penalties: Elton Jantjies (2 from 4)
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (​3 ​from ​4​)Ireland scorers:
Tries: Devin Toner, Jamie Heaslip
Penalties: Paddy Jackson (4 from 5)
Conversions: Paddy Jackson (2 from 2)
SOUTH AFRICA:
15. Willie le Roux
14. JP Pietersen
13. Lionel Mapoe
12. Damian de Allende
11. Lwazi Mvovo (Ruan Combrinck ‘40)
10. Elton Jantjies (Morné Steyn HIA ’60-64)
9. Faf de Klerk
1. Tendai Mtawarira (Trevor Nyakane ‘51)
2. Adriaan Strauss (c)
3. Frans Malherbe (Julian Redelinghuys ‘47)
4. Eben Etzebeth
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit
6. Francois Louw
7. Siya Kolisi (Franco Mostert ‘68)
8. Duane Vermeulen (Warren Whiteley ‘40)

Replacements not used: Bongi Mbonambi, Rudy Paige

IRELAND:
15. Jared Payne (Tiernan O’Halloran ‘77)
14. Andrew Trimble
13. Robbie Henshaw
12. Stuart Olding
11. Craig Gilroy
10. Paddy Jackson
9. Conor Murray
1. Jack McGrath (Dave Kilcoyne ‘68)
2. Rory Best (c) (Richardt Strauss ’64)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Finlay Bealham ‘60)
4. Devin Toner
5. Quinn Roux (Donnacha Ryan ‘51)
6. Iain Henderson
7. Rhys Ruddock (Sean Reidy blood sub ’43-50, 68)
8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements not used: Kieran Marmion, Ian Madigan

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)​.

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