Castle Lager Incoming Series: Springboks Confirm Their Status As Best Rugby Team In The World


The Springboks retained the number one World Rugby ranking, beating second-ranked Ireland 20-08 at Loftus Versveld.

The Springboks showed an early glimpse of their "new" style of play when they spread the ball wide for Kurt-Lee Arendse to score in the corner after just two minutes of play.

A penalty converted by Irish flyhalf back reduced the Springboks lead to just four points, whereafter Handre Pollard returned the favour twice to extend the Springboks to lead 13-03 with twelve minutes to play in the first half.

Following a missed attempt to convert a penalty Crowley kicked to the corner, whereafter, Ireland spent four minutes on the Boks tryline before fullback Jamie Osborne sneaked through in the corner for Ireland's first try to reduce the Boks lead to just five points and four minutes to play.

The first half was "dominated" by the Springboks which could not convert all their opportunities to score. The Boks led 13-08.

With thirty minutes to play in the match Springbok Coach Rassie Erasmus sent six replacements on the field, to which Ireland replied with a brilliant try by James Lowe, which was disallowed, wherafter, Pollard missed his third penalty conversion attempt in a row.

A mistake by Irish winger James Lowe to keep a Pollard line-kick infield was controlled by Cheslin Kolbe to score the Springboks' second try and extend the Springboks' lead to 20-08.

With five minutes to play Irleland's Conor Murray scored Ireland's second try to reduce the Springboks lead to just five minutes still to play.

Yet another mistake by Ireland led to a five-meter scrum where the Springboks demolished the Irish scrum and the Springboks were awarded a penalty try.

However, Ireland was not done and scored a brilliant try in the corner from the kickoff by Ryan Baird. Eventually, the time ran out for Ireland and the Springboks remain the number one ranked team in the world with a 27-20 win over the second-ranked Ireland.

Springboks: Try: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Penalty try. Conversions: Handre Pollard (2). Penalties: Handre Pollard (2).
Ireland: Tries: Jamie Osborne, Conor Murray. Conversion: Jack Crowley. Penalty: Jack Crowley.


Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche. Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Marco van Staden, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

Ireland: 15 Jamie Osborne, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter. Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 James Ryan, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Ciaran Frawley, 23 Garry Ringrose.