South Africa 37
It was a tough but scrappy game of test rugby. In the end the Boks won
comfortably enough but except for Stefan Terblanche, who had a dream
debut, scoring no less than four tries, it was not a game that the
Springboks will remember with any great fondness.
The Irish defended with heart, soul and the occasional head-high for
good measure. They were clearly intent on taking the game to the Boks
physically, hoping to feed off any mistakes the resultant pressure
might induce and to a limited extent, they succeeded.
Eric Ellwood's pinpoint up-and-under, aimed to fall on the left-hand
upright of the Boks' posts, was so close to target, that it had the
Bok fullback in a dilemma. Not so, the Irish right winger, who leapt
high into the air to pluck a try right out of the jaws of a startled
Montgomery's grasp and crash over for a brilliant 7-pointer.
This was Ireland's only contribution to a game that frankly, never
rose to great heights but early in the second half, they did make a
valiant attempt to win with a powerful surge down the right sideline
which saw them bundled into touch a metre short of the line.
Gaffie du Toit, SA's newly-found heir to the Honiball throne had a
quiet but reasonably successful debut. He is a big lad with brains in
both feet and a good turn of speed as he showed on one occasion, when
he sliced through the Irish defence like a greased pig-sticker, only
to run away from his support! But nothing that a bit of experience and
a few wise words from the backline coach won't sort out.
Joost van der Westhuizen had a shocker! When he wasn't fumbling the
ball, he was passing behind Bok backs, who had to stop and wait for
the pass to arrive. IMO both Putt and Swanepoel should start shining
up their boots up for next week.
The Bok scrum was also a mess at the end of the game and not
surprisingly either. Ollie le Roux is a solid loosehead with good ball
skills, who gets about the park too but, sorry Nick Mallett, not for
the full 80 minutes. You should have brought on Kempson for
the last twenty as the Sharks always do.
Make no mistake, the Irish were very effective spoilers and seldom
the beneficiaries of 50/50 calls by Referee Morrison. On the other
hand, the expression of relief on the Irish ***'s face when he
saw the colour of the card shown to him, spoke for itself.
I'm expecting a couple of changes to the Bok lineup for the next one
but the Irish will probably field the same combo.