South Africa snatch last gasp win over Ireland

Adriaan Strauss defends the ball for South Africa

Damian de Allende scored a late try to help South Africa edge Ireland 32-26 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg and level the series.

De Allende’s try put the Springboks into the lead which was converted by Elton Jantjies who added a penalty on full time.

Ireland led for most of the match but as the match progressed the local Lions players were brought on and they spurred the Springboks on to victory.

South Africa came from being 3-19 down at half time to snatch the victory by outscoring four second half tries to one and 29 points to 7 in the second half.

Ireland won the first of the three Test series and South Africa have now levelled the series 1 all which makes next week’s test in Port Elizabeth the deciding match.

At halftime the Boks were staring a series defeat in the face but a raft of inspired second-half substitutions allowed the side to turn the match on its head in the dying minutes with a succession of well-taken tries as the highveld’s high altitude seemed to take the fight out of the Irish and were pretty much out on their feet.

Last week the Springboks lost 26-20 in what was the first-ever defeat to Ireland on South African soil and another defeat would have been the end of the series ahead of next week’s final Test in Port Elizabeth next Saturday.

The Boks showed a far greater sense of urgency at the kick-off compared to last week and the early stages were fiercely combative as both sides tried to take possession upfield via the forwards, often from first-phase play.

Referee Angus Gardner of Australia policed early breakdown play and tackles with keen interest and with the Boks more often than not the offenders, Irish flyhalf Paddy Jackson had ample opportunity to convert the misdemeanours into points. In the first 27 minutes, he was on target four times for a 12-point haul.

His opposite number Elton Jantjies was one target with a third-minute attempt and in the 16th minute, Boks showed confidence to go for touch instead of attempting a kickable penalty. The Irish expertly stopped the subsequent maul in its tracks some eight metres out.

A feature of first-half play was the number of times the Irish managed to rip the possession away from the Boks’ ball carriers. This ploy contributed greatly to Ireland’s decided possession advantage in the opening half when the Boks failed miserably to sustain momentum when they were on the attack.

In addition, the Boks made a number of handling errors as well as missing a slew of first-time tackles which would have sapped their confidence after a promising showing at the start.

With Ireland holding a commanding 12-3 lead there was more woe just moments after Jantjies struck the uprights with a penalty attempt. Bok leftwing Lwazi Mvovo failed to deal adequately with a high kick and once the Irish managed to recycle the back to the supporting players, lock Devin Toner finished off splendidly by crashing over for the first try of the match.

Jackson’s conversion pushed the scoreline out to 19-3 a few minutes before the players retreated to the change-rooms at halftime.

The Boks sent out substitutes Warren Whitely (No 8) and Ruan Combrinck (wing) when play resumed and afterwards they were joined by prop Julian Redelinghuys in what was a desperate attempt to stage a rescue the match.

Combrinck had a hand in an early second-half raid into the Irish 22m area and it looked promising until flank Siya Kolisi failed to hold on to a pass as the Boks closed in on the opposition’s tryline. Ireland responded well to the pressure by regaining the initiative taking play into the opposition half, until the Boks staged a penetrative break-out from their own 22m area in the 50th minute.

Five minutes later, Combrinck threw the Boks a lifeline in the 56th minute with the Boks’ first try and with Jantjies goaling the conversion from the touchline, the deficit was reduced to nine points (19-10).

The Boks’seven-point advance would have fired up hopes in the ranks but just ahead of the hour mark Irish eighthman Jamie Heaslip barged after the Boks failed to counter a driving maul. Jackson’s conversion saw the Irish take what looked like a matchwinning 26-10 lead.

But the Boks fought back gamely with an unconverted try by Whiteley but with some 17 minutes’ play left, the 26-15 margin looked beyond them unless they could conjure up a few moments of magic.

There was a 70th minute moment of magic from lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, who helped along by substitute Franco Mostert, crashed over for the Boks’ third try and with Jantjies’ conversion on target, the South Africans were on the cusp of staging a dramatic rescue operation at 26-22.

The Boks produced another moment of magic in the 73rd minute and this it came from a converted try by centre Damian de Allende and for the first time after the hosts were in the lead at 29 – 26, a lead they held intact until the final minute when Jantjies sealed the result with his second penalty.


Final Score South Africa 32 (3) Ireland 26 (19)


South Africa
Tries – Combrinck, Whiteley, Du Toit, De Allende
Pen – Jantjies 2
Con -Jantjies 3
Drop –
Cards –

Tries -Toner, Heaslip
Pen -Jackson (4)
Con -Jackson (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Ref 1:Glen Jackson (New Zealand),
Assistant Ref 2:Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO : Jim Yuille (Scotland)


South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Ruan Combrinck


15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Rhys Ruddock, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath

Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Tiernan O’Halloran

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