President's men hold off Irish
SA Presidents XV 19, Emerging Ireland 8
Emerging Ireland tripped up in their second match of the IRB Tbilisi Cup as Carl Bezuidenhout kicked the South Africa President's XV to a 19-8 win.
Scrum-half Ntando Kebe gave a man-of-the-match performance, while his half-back partner Bezuidenhout was clinical with his boot, landing four decisive penalties and converting winger Alshaun Bock's 11th-minute try.
The young Irish side did well to recover from an early 10-0 deficit with replacement Michael Allen touching down in the second half.
Allen's try came when South African prop Ivann Espag was in the sin-bin for repeated scrum infringements, but Ireland failed to score for the remainder as Bezuidenhout's fourth penalty late on sealed the result.
Ireland had enough possession and territory to be much closer on the scoreboard, with their pack maintaining a high work-rate under captain Rhys Ruddock.
Bezuidenhout was relentless from the kicking tee though and Ruddock and his team-mates paid for a sloppy start and lost a number of breakdown decisions.
The result leaves Ireland third in the table, with four points, ahead of their final match against bottom side Uruguay on Sunday.
The South Africans are now just 80 minutes away from winning the inaugural tournament.
IRELAND – D Kearney; N Morris, B Macken, N Reid, T O'Halloran; I Keatley, J Cooney; J McGrath, N Annett, M Bent, D Foley, I Nagle, R Ruddock (c), J Murphy, R Diack.