Sunday 22 April 2018

Boks snatch historic series triumph from Ireland's grasp


Ireland's Jared Payne (left) is tackled by South Africa's Willie le Roux. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Ireland's Jared Payne (left) is tackled by South Africa's Willie le Roux. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
South Africa's Warren Whiteley goes over for a try despite the attentions of Irish players. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
South Africa's Elton Jantjies is tackled by Ireland's Jack McGrath, left, and teammate Tadhg Furlong. Photo:Themba Hadebe/AP
Rugby Union - Rugby Test - Ireland v South Africa - Johannesburg South Africa - 18/06/16. South Africa's captain, Adriaan Strauss (left) is tackled by Ireland's Paddy Jackson. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ireland wilted in the heat of a remarkable second-half performance from South Africa at Ellis Park as the three-Test series goes down to the wire.

Joe Schmidt's side had one hand on history when they led 19-3 at half-time at the end of a composed first 40 minutes, but they couldn't handle the power that Allister Coetzee brought off his bench as the hosts ran in four tries to score 29 points to Ireland's seven and level the series.

A week on from their heroic win with 14 men at Newlands, the tourists weathered an early first-half storm and left the field to the sweet sound of booing home fans after Devin Toner's try and 14 points from the boot of Paddy Jackson put them in a dominant position.

But when the surge came from the home side, they proved too hot to handle with replacements Ruan Combrinck and Warren Whitely going over for tries either side of Jamie Heaslip's effort, before Pieter-Steph du Toit and Damian de Allende crossed as the Boks ran out 32-26 winners in Johannesburg.

It means the series will go down to a decider at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

An already injury-hit Ireland may have to do without Robbie Henshaw who both limped off with injury, but will have CJ Stander back for the decider.

"The South Africans delivered an onslaught that we didn't quite match up to," Schmidt said. "The result was well and truly earned by the South African ball-carriers, we weren't up to the task.

"It's incredibly disappointing after being 19-3 and 26-10 up. We missed kicks either side of half-time which could have kept the pressure on, but they were irrepressible."

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