Ireland propelled themselves to the cusp of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a gripping 13-8 win over reigning champions South Africa on a raucous night in Paris.
Mack Hansen’s attempt to 5 factors from Johnny Sexton helped settle an exciting conflict between worldwide rugby’s high two groups at a sold-out Stade de France.
Replacement fly-half Jack Crowley added a late penalty as Ireland stretched their successful run to 16 matches to take management of Pool B.
Andy Farrell’s males additionally retained high spot within the world rankings forward of the defeated Springboks, who now have work to do in opposition to Tonga subsequent week to keep away from early elimination.
Cheslin Kolbe’s second-half attempt to a Manie Libbok penalty saved Jacques Nienaber’s facet in rivalry earlier than they finally fell quick in a nail-biting finale.
Pre-match speak was dominated by South Africa’s daring name to call an imposing seven-one cut up of forwards and backs on their bench – a call head coach Nienaber known as a “calculated risk”.
Ireland impressively defused the so-called ‘Bomb Squad’ to convey the knock-out rounds inside touching distance.
Both sides arrived within the French capital with back-to-back wins on the board.
An estimated 30,000 Irish followers had been anticipated amongst a capability crowd for one of the vital eagerly-anticipated group-stage matches in World Cup historical past.
That approximate determine appeared on the low facet amid deafening noise in Saint-Denis additional fuelled by a frenetic begin of massive hits and end-to-end motion.
Ireland initially started on the entrance foot however, following a daring resolution to kick for the nook, didn’t capitalise on a few promising line-outs earlier than falling behind to a Libbok penalty.
The set-piece struggles persevered and just some dogged defensive work, together with Bundee Aki’s essential sort out on Jesse Kriel, stifled the Springboks.
Farrell’s males continued to indicate loads of attacking enterprise and had been rewarded within the thirty third minute when sustained strain led to Hansen capping a sensational staff transfer by crossing on the correct.
Captain Sexton calmly slotted the extras to make sure the Six Nations champions ended a breathless opening interval of ferocious physicality 7-3 forward.
Ireland have had the higher hand on this fixture in latest occasions, together with a 19-16 Dublin success in November, however South Africa – match winners in 1995, 2007 and 2019 – maintain a vastly superior World Cup report.
The unrelenting tempo resumed following the interval and, amid additional line-out points, Ireland’s deficit was virtually reduce to a single level when Faf de Klerk’s penalty from midway struck a put up.
Yet South Africa seized on the unfastened ball from that missed kick and penned again their opponents earlier than Kolbe touched down on the left to place his facet 8-7 in entrance.
Fly-half Libbok was off beam with the conversion and Ireland snatched again the lead going into the ultimate 20 minutes because of a Sexton penalty.
South Africa turned to their stacked bench, together with introducing Jean Kleyn, who represented Ireland on the final World Cup, in a bid to make the distinction.
Irish indiscipline was in peril of proving costly, with these in inexperienced relieved to see Libbok after which De Klerk squander additional penalties.
The Springboks loved the higher territory and possession within the second interval.
But Ireland, helped over the road by three factors from Crowley, doggedly held on to make a serious assertion transferring in the direction of their Pool B finale in opposition to Scotland in a fortnight’s time, whereas leaving the title holders with loads to ponder.