New look, old tactics – Irish rugby team face defeat

Craig Farrell

An Ireland team with a new look took on South Africa in the opening Test game at the Aviva on Saturday 10th of November. Sadly, it was the same old story for the Irish.

Despite going in at half-time with a lead to defend, Declan Kidney’s men failed to hold their guard and succumbed to South Africa losing 12-16.

The most upsetting part of the defeat is the fact that the Irish, who were sporting their new black kit, won all of the major categories in the match in terms of statistics but still couldn’t come away with a win.

In fact, they did the polar opposite and limped to defeat.

Ireland had the lion’s share of possession and territory while also winning more scrums, line-outs and rucks.

The South Africans were also forced into committing 11 turnovers to Ireland’s nine, but Ireland still failed to hold the South Africans at bay.

Ireland started very positively, forcing four cheap penalties in the first ten minutes, which Johnny Sexton was able to turn into six points.

Three more penalty conversions – a further two by Sexton and one by South Africa’s Patrick Lambie – gave Ireland a 12-3 lead after half an hour.

Ireland’s failed opportunities came back to haunt them as South Africa found some rhythm in the second half.

A try from Ruan Pienaar, along with a Lambie conversion and another two penalties off Lambie’s boot took South Africa into a 12-16 lead on the hour – a lead that the Springboks never looked like conceding once they gained it.

Ireland were missing a lot of key players, but so were South Africa, making Ireland’s excuse ring somewhat hollow.

The only consolation to be taken from the Test was that it took away some of the bitter taste left behind by the 0-60 mauling that Ireland suffered against New Zealand. However, there is very little that Ireland can really take out of this Test game in terms of positives…other than the stylish new attire.


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