Five takeaways from a brutal World Cup clash

Eighth springbok in the team Andrew Porter, an Irish prop, will face battle against Jasper Wiese.

Here are our five key learnings from a difficult match at the Stade de France, where Ireland defeated South Africa 13-8 in a Rugby World Cup match.

Knockout game intensity

Given the intensity, drama, passion, and pure savagery on display in Paris on Saturday, it could have been the Rugby World Cup final. It was a classic game.

Ireland had to withstand a bombardment of pressure from the Springboks early on as both teams threw everything they had at each other from the opening minute. But they did, winning 7-3 as they entered the locker rooms. Despite falling behind after 51 minutes, the Irish rallied to win.

As Ireland and South Africa once again proved they are the genuine deal, this match on October 28 at this venue could very well be the final game of the tournament.

Ireland’s lineout woes

Ireland must strengthen this area of their game against Scotland and in the knockout rounds because it was problematic tonight against the Boks.

Only two of their seven throws had been successful at one point in the first period, and Ronan Kelleher was having trouble with accuracy and the Bok competition. Fortunately, for Ireland, things got better as the game went on and Dan Sheehan joined the action, but it will undoubtedly need improvement before next week.

In contrast, Peter O’Mahony was a nuisance on the opposition’s ball as he interfered with the Springboks’ set-piece at crucial moments, which helped to contain the damage.

Springboks’ kicking woes

One feels bad for Manie Libbok and the Boks who will be present at the next news conferences because the goal-kicking will undoubtedly be the main topic of discussion.

Faf de Klerk missed two long-range attempts at goal on Saturday, while Libbok was failed with a penalty and conversion.

Although the fly-half is a superb player who has added to the Springboks’ arsenal since his ascent to fame, there has always been a nagging worry that South Africa’s poor kicking performance may come back to bother them in crucial matches like this. Tonight is that time, I suppose.


Ireland set sights on quarter-finals

In order for Ireland to win the William Webb Ellis Cup for the first time, this was actually the first of five elimination games. They will be relieved that they have a 14-day turnaround before playing Scotland at this location, but they are optimistic since they have prevailed in their last eight meetings with their Six Nations rivals.

The prize for winning the pool will probably be getting to play New Zealand in the quarterfinals. The Irish have a great recent record against them, winning their last two matches against them, so they’ll feel like a hat trick is possible.

Ireland was placed under pressure throughout the whole game, but despite their flaws, they managed to eke out a victory over a strong Bok team. The ability to triumph even when not at your best is a trait of a great team, and Andy Farrell’s group has demonstrated this time and time again; today was just one more instance.


Boks risks back-fire

The Springboks took three significant risks before this vital Rugby World Cup Pool B match: first, by leaving seven forwards off the field; second, by not having a replacement hooker; and third, by not having a designated backup kicker.

The first only backfired because Libbok had no suitable backup kicker, but they still had a significant impact from the sidelines, while the second only resulted in one skew throw, which was scarcely detrimental overall.

However, the timing of the substitutions was a different risk because hooker Bongi Mbonambi, who undoubtedly had more time left in him, and their skipper Siya Kolisi’s exit meant that the majority of the Springboks’ long-term leaders were also off the field during a key Test match.

There will surely be a learning curve for both the coaches and the Springboks during this.

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