Ireland defeated South Africa 13-8 in the third game of Pool B of the World Cup after overcoming issues at both line out time and the scrum. This game and the intensity of it defiantly signalled an upping in intensity by both sides who didn’t take a backward step. South Africa will know they left points behind them from the tee.
Ireland too will know that had there line out functioned in the opening 20 minutes they could have scored more than one try. Both teams know they have issues to solve for later in the Pool. Ireland play Scotland in Paris on Saturday week and South Africa will face Tonga where Handre Pollard will return to the fray in the 10 jersey.
It will also be interesting to see how South Africa select their bench from now on after they used a 7/1 split in two games. Will they go down the traditional route of 5/3 or stick to 6/2 or 7/1. Deon Fourie struggled at key moments in the final quarter last Saturday and the decision to not pick another hooker and bring in Pollard will certainly be looked at as he struggled to get to grips with the game from a line out throwing perspective, which is kind of key when you come on as a hooker…
Ireland will know that win is only another stepping stone as they have been here before by beating Australia in 2011, France in 2015 to step up quarter finals both of which ended in defeat. As supporters we can lose the run of ourselves as long as Farrell and his squad keep the feet planted and we have truly learned from past errors at this point.
Scotland will come into full focus when the squad reconvenes tomorrow after a couple of days away from camp. They did the needful against Samoa and will need to do likewise against Romania next weekend. Then they can focus on Ireland.
I have seen the talk about the use of Cranberries song “Zombie” has come into focus in the days since the game on Saturday. We really need to press pause on these immediate pile ons that occur in the aftermath of these things.
You can’t in the words of my late grandfather rip the pages out of the history book and expect a different result. History is just that, history. We can’t revise every single piece of history to suit a narrative from 2023.
Let’s hope people will get behind the team on Saturday week. They have to try and break an unwanted record at World Cup time of not making it beyond a quarter final and yes it is a terrible record that they need to stop and once again they have done what’s been asked of them by beating the teams before them.
Under Andy Farrell this team went to New Zealand and based that tour on the final couple of weeks of a perspective World Cup run and that saw them win 4 out of 5 games on that tour. So they showed they can back up games week on week. Let’s trust in Andy Farrell and see can his men deliver another big performance on Saturday week against Scotland….