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VIDEO: 3 venues, 3 recent South African visits
It’s never easy, but we tend to have our fair share of joy at home to South Africa.

November 6 2010: Ireland 21 – 23 South Africa

This sounds close, and had Ronan O’Gara’s conversion drifted an inch or two further left then it may have completed a great escape.

The scoreline certainly flattered an Irish side who seemed to mirror the disgruntled mood of the crowd who forked outs to sit in the shiny new Aviva Stadium.

South Africa led 13-6 at half time thanks to a Juan Smith try and widened the gap further in the half hour following half time. 12 Irish points in the final 11 minutes arrived courtesy of touchdowns from Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney (skip to 2.50 if that’s what you want to see) .

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Omens for a repeat? Hopefully not. Each pack will contain only two men who played in 2010.  However, Ruan Pienaar did start that day and Patrick Lambie made his debut as a 60th minute replacement. Tomorrow, he will begin a long tenure as South Africa’s number one number 10

November 28 2009: Ireland 15 – 10 South Africa

This was nothing short of an epic battle. Made all the more dramatic by a veil of mist in Croke Park which meant half the crowd – or maybe just me – was left use their imagination to determine how Ireland in their white shirts were managing to keep the World Champions and victors of a Lions series at bay.

That was the beginning of the Jonathan Sexton era, a week on from his impressive debut against Fiji at the RDS he kicked all the points in this one as Ireland overturned a 6-10 half-time deficit.

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Omens for a repeat? Well, the weather has been unpredictable of late. Again though, the packs have changed almost beyond recognition. Ireland ‘s pack will retain Cian Healy and Jamie Heaslip from this game, but the only South Africans to start both then and now is the Beast (and PA announcer’ nemesis), Tendai Mtawarira and JP Pietersen.

November 11 2006: Ireland 32 – 15 South Africa

At the time, this was seen as a shadow South African side, and many of the players who faced a rampant Irish side were rarely seen again outside of the Currie Cup. However, we don’t believe any ‘Bok-loving South African would trade this defeat for the William Webb Ellis trophy lifted less than a year later.

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Bryan Habana, Jean De Villiers, Frans Steyn, Ricky Januarie, Danie Roussouw and Pierre Spies were all involved from the start. So, Ireland’s 32-point haul deserves a little credit.

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Omens for a repeat? Coach Heyneke Meyer is using these games with a view to find out about his players in plenty of time for the World Cup. But the bokke most certainly won’t be keen only letting the game open up.

They’ll be playing to their traditional strength; grunt, and plenty of it.

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