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Springboks Hold Off Ireland To Win The First Test

  • July 6, 2024
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Springboks Hold Off Ireland To Win The First Test

The Springboks assured why they are world number one ranking with a narrow 27-20 victory over Ireland in a pulsating first Test at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The match was a tense battle between the two rugby superpowers. Ireland, ranked second in the world, lived up to their billing by putting the Boks under constant pressure. This encounter held extra spice as Ireland had defeated South Africa in the Rugby World Cup pool stages last year, before the Boks went on to claim the title.

Further fueling the fire was the fact that the winner of this match would claim the world number one ranking. Ireland, fresh off their Six Nations win, arrived determined to dethrone the Springboks.

The Boks got off to a flying start with a try from Kurt-Lee Arendse in the third minute, converted by Handre Pollard. However, Ireland responded before halftime with a try from Jamie Osborne, narrowing the gap to 13-8.

Pollard missed crucial penalties throughout the match, including two in the second half from close range. Ireland also had a potential try from James Lowe disallowed due to an earlier infringement.

Despite the Boks’ home advantage, Ireland refused to show any respect, shutting down South Africa’s attacking opportunities. Even substitutions in the front row did little to change the momentum for the Boks. However, Malcolm Marx proved his worth as a world-class hooker, capitalizing on a crucial moment to retrieve the ball.

The Boks’ second try came unexpectedly. A kick from Pollard saw Lowe trying to retrieve it from touch, but the ball fell perfectly for Cheslin Kolbe to score in the 66th minute, extending the lead to 20-8.

Ireland ramped up the pressure in the final minutes, forcing a yellow card for Arendse. They capitalized with a try from Conor Murray, bringing the score to a tense 20-15.

The Boks responded with a dominant scrum, earning a penalty try to extend their lead to 27-15. However, Ireland wouldn’t go down without a fight, scoring a late try through Ryan Baird. Ultimately, the Springboks held on for a hard-fought victory.

The series concludes next Saturday at Kings Park Stadium in Durban. Ireland will be hoping for a better performance from players like Bundee Aki, who was largely ineffective in Pretoria.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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