SA vs Ireland Match 2 Review & Analysis

Sitting here typing up this post we are a couple of worried men, when looking at comments on our Facebook page, reading various match reviews, and talking to friends, all seem to say one thing, what a brilliant game and comeback by the Springboks. South African commentator, Joel Stransky, even went as far as saying it was one of the greatest Springbok comebacks of all time!

Yes, South Africa did manage to make a comeback. Yes they did win the match, but we are NOT buying into the fact that, suddenly, everything seems to be good with Springbok rugby, or that it was a good win for South Africa. While we HATE being negative and continuously having to dish out criticism, you have to say it like it is, and the reality is it was yet another poor South African performance and a game they were very fortunate to win.

South Africa vs Ireland Match 2 Complete Review & Talking Points – A Tale Of 2 Halves.

Negatives From Match 2

Let it be said straight of the bat that the Springboks were (very) lucky to win this match. It was not so much a case of the Springboks who won this match as a team, as it was moments of individual brilliance that added to the South African scoreboard, combined with Ireland slipping up at crucial times.


The usually accurate Paddy Jackson, missed two relatively easy 3-pointers, had those gone over the result would have been much different. Unfortunately, for Ireland Jackson missed a crucial penalty kick right before halftime, which would have resulted in Ireland going up 22-3, had that been the case it would have been a HUGE advantage for Ireland.

1st Half

The Springboks were atrocious in the 1st half, shockingly bad! It is simply not acceptable for a Springbok team to play like they did in the 1st half and some serious questions and soul-searching needs to be done, why were the Springboks so bad in the 1st half, and large portions in the second half?

south african scrum

Big Problems At Scrum Time For South Africa


The Springbok scrum got destroyed, by the Irish, a Springbok scrum getting out scrummed and completely dominated like it was in match 2, is simply something South African fans are not accustomed to, and quite frankly it is unacceptable!

South African forward coach, Matthew Proudfoot will need to establish whether it is a technique problem or a front row selection issue…personally, we think it is a bit of both. Frans Malherbe deserves a special mention; he had a dreadful match, horrible both in scrums and open play!

Breakdown & Ball Retention

As we mentioned in our preview for match-2, “expect the Springboks to turnover, a lot of ball, at the breakdowns and contact situation, “and that is exactly what happened! This is another very concerning aspect for the South African team and coaching staff. The Springboks are turning over an extraordinary high number of balls, a major weakness something a good counter attacking team will thrive on.


As stated in the introduction had it not been for moments of brilliance by individual players South Africa would not have won this match, when you compare the Springboks vs Ireland match to that of the New Zealand and Wales or England and Australia matches one thing becomes abruptly clear, not only was the South African game the least entertaining of the 3, but the South African team simply does not play together as a team. Above mentioned teams all managed to build up phases and work the ball through the hands, which eventually resulted in gaps appearing where the attacking team could put their runners through.

South Africa scored 4 tries. 3 – of those tries were the result of individual players bulldozing over tired Irish defenders, while we take nothing away from the players who scored the tries, we simply want to place emphasis on the fact that the Springboks as a team are not playing well, it is rather a case of individual players standing up and taking control of a situation, something which will not work in the Rugby Championship, examples of the above include:

  • Pieter-Steph DuToit bulldozing his way over the Irish tryline (Well don, Piet!)
  • Damien deAllende, who is renowned for his strong darting runs, trucking over Irish defenders to score a brilliant individual try
  • Warren Wittley displaying his superb foot work to dance his way over the tryline
  • Ruan “The Destroyer” Combrink running over his opposite number.

It can be argued that all of the above tries resulted not because of good team work, and sustained pressure, but rather as a result of good individual efforts by mentioned players. Willie LeRoux also deserves a special mention for cutting through the Irish defensive line and putting Combrink in the gap.

Team Selection / Quotas.

Want to know why the Boks were better in the second half? Because replacements came on resulting in a better team. We got labeled as racist in the build up to the second match when we questioned the selection of certain players, all of whom had bad games and got replaced in the second half. Well if stating facts make you racist then I guess we are:

Questionable selections include the following players:

  • Mvovo – He had an absolute shocker in the 1st half, being largely responsible for one of the Irish tries when he couldn’t manage to field (a relatively easy) high ball. Got replaced in the second half by Ruan Combrink, and suddenly there was a bit more flair out wide. While respecting Mvovo, you can’t deny the fact that he is NOT the best winger nor is he currently Springbok worthy, Allister Coetzee is smart enough to have known that but hey, had a quota to meet!
  • Siya Kolisi – The current plan the South African coaching staff has with Siya Kolisi simply does not make sense. They are using Kolisi as a battering ram, like a type of Willem Alberts, Kolisi is not the correct player to use for such a tactic, as could be seen when he had a number of balls stripped from him during contact. Kolisi is NOT the best flanker and South African rugby has much better flankers than Kolisi, Warren Whitley deserved that starting spot, and both Proudfoot and Coetzee knew it.
  • Frans Malherbe – Malherbe had a shocker the worrying thing for South African rugby is…who is there to replace him? We are BIG fans of Trever Nyakane, but unfortunately, the big boy doesn’t seem fit enough to play a full game, which is a pity!
  • Tendai Mtawarira – We have mentioned that Mtawarira is simply not the beast of old, but same question as above, who is there to replace him?
  • Adriaan Strauss – Generally bad game; had a number of balls striped in contact, missed his jumpers in lineout a number of times. A Bismark Duplessis call up may solve the problem.
  • JP Pietersen – Was he on the field?

Positives From Match 2

While we are of the opinion that, despite ending up on the winning side, it was yet another shameful performance by the Springboks, there were a number of positives to emerge from the match 2, the positives are:

Elton Jantjies

We have questioned Elton Jantjies, and whether he is good enough to be entrusted as starting flyhalf for the Springboks, however, we are pleased to announce we are generally satisfied with Jantjies performance. He had a “goodish” test match despite playing with a broken finger, and with experience, he will only get better.

Ruan Combrink 

Brilliant debut by Combrink, who possesses both pace and power but that is not where it stops. Combrink constantly looks for work and tends to pop up at the right areas at the right time, one of the few exciting prospects currently in South African rugby.

South Africa vs Ireland Match 2 Review – Conclusion

Aside from the above mentioned, positives, there are honestly nothing else we can think of to praise the Boks performance on. We stick to our point that they were horrible and it was yet another embarrassing display by the South Africans.

If Springbok supporters are dropping their standards to such an extent that they are satisfied / pleased with the Springbok performance, with one major news publication even running the headline “hail the Bok heroes” then we are very concerned.  One needs to look past the result and serious questions need to be asked about where the Springboks are currently heading, which is not in a good direction…dark days!

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