Ireland waste a golden opportunity


Ireland 12 South Africa 16:Disappointing, frustrating, perplexing; choose your description but for the Ireland team and management the four point deficit on the scoreboard shouldn’t distract from the feeling that this was an opportunity lost in a game where the fare was too often substandard when measured by a barometer of elite level Test rugby.

The kernel of this contest centred on two yellow cards. South African right wing JP Pietersen received his for a dangerous, early, shoulder led collision with Chris Henry on 31 minutes. South Africa escaped to the dressingroom without conceding another point, trailing 12-3 at the interval.

Jamie Heaslip, captaining Ireland for the first time, couldn’t argue the toss when referee Wayne Barnes penalised him soon after the restart for coming in the side to thwart a goal-line bound Springbok maul. During the Irish number eight’s absence the visitors racked up 10 points. South African outhalf Pat Lambie would add another penalty on 69 minutes to leave Ireland chasing the improbable, based on the second-half performance.