Ireland's Jonny Sexton makes rusty South Africa side sweat

Ireland 12 South Africa 16

Aviva Stadium

South Africa left Dublin having won a game through their strength of mind that had deserted them for large parts of this game.

Earlier this week South African coach Heyneke Meyer told his players this was their last audition as he aims to formalise the group which the Springboks will take to England for the 2015 World Cup.

What was at the forefront of his mind was how his players would handle the northern hemisphere conditions such as soft pitches, wind and rain.

Today the chilly conditions were near perfect for rugby, but when Meyer's team failed to impose their trademark physicality on their hosts they threw a spat before finally discovering their old selves in the second half.

The Boks conceded 11 penalties and a yellow card in the opening half as they tried in vain to turn this contest into a slugfest. Outmuscled in contact, out-smarted at the breakdown and anaemic in the scrum this was a poor opening effort by players attempting to win over the trust of their coach.

Rookie Test forwards Mike McCarthy, named man of the match, and Chris Henry spent their time dispelling fears they would struggle to get to grips with the physical force of the Springboks and as levels of aggression wore on the visitors began to lose their cool.

First off Irish prop Cian Healy ended up shirtless after a scrap with Duane Vermeulen, next it was Peter O'Mahony and Eben Etzebeth to lead the respective handbag brigades, but it spilled over on 32 minutes when JP Pietersen was yellow carded. Seconds after Jonny Sexton's fourth penalty of the game had put Ireland 12-3 ahead the Bok wing shoulder charged Henry under the dropping kick-off and was binned after both teams piled into each other. It was prime reward for Ireland who came into this game off the back of a 60-0 loss to New Zealand in the summer and had left coach Declan Kidney's long-term in some doubt.

Henry, O'Mahony, Donncha Ryan and the South Africa-born Richardt Strauss, on Irish debut, continued to shake loose change out of their opponents at the breakdown. While full back Simon Zebo combined with Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls throughout to keep the Boks on the backfoot whenever the game was allowed to flow.

Clearly irked by their first-half showing the South Africans were back on the pitch for the second half three minutes early.

Their intent was obvious as they upped the tempo and soon Ireland were bleeding penalties - three in four minutes - and after captain Jamie Heaslip had been binned scrum-half Ruan Pienaar dived through for the game's first try, converted by Lambie. At 12-10 it was game on. South Africa had rediscovered their taste for destruction and Lambie nudged his side a point ahead on 51 minutes after O'Mahony was pinged for the fourth time in the game.

When Heinke van der Merwe worked over provincial team-mate Mike Ross in the scrum, Lambie extended the lead to four and like a dog with a blood-soaked bone the Boks then refused to let go.

With a visit to Twickenham still to come on November 24, this evidence suggest that while the Boks still have the brawn, they are lacking the brains.

Ireland: S Zebo (Munster); T Bowe (Ulster), K Earls (Munster), G D'Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Strauss (Leinster), M Ross (Leinster); D Ryan (Munster), M McCarthy (Connacht); P O'Mahony (Munster), C Henry (Ulster), J Heaslip (Leinster, capt).

Replacements: M Bent (Leinster) for Ross, 71; D O'Callaghan (Munster) for McCarthy, 71; I Henderson (Ulster) for O'Mahony, 71; E Reddan (Leinster) for Murray, 62; R O'Gara (Munster) for D'Arcy, 75; F McFadden (Leinster) for Trimble, 59

South Africa: Z Kirchner (Blue Bulls); JP Pietersen (Sharks), J Taute (Golden Lions), J de Villiers (capt, Western Province), F Hougaard (Blue Bulls); P Lambie (Sharks), R Pienaar (Ulster); CJ van der Linde (Golden Lions), A Strauss (Cheetahs), J du Plessis (Sharks); E Etzebeth (Western Province), J Kruger (Blue Bulls); F Louw (Bath), W Alberts (Sharks), D Vermeulen (Western Province).

Replacements: H van der Merwe (Leinster) for van der Linde, 63; P Cilliers (Western Province) for Du Plessis, 56; F van der Merwe (Blue Bulls) for Etzebeth, 71; M Coetzee (Sharks) for Veremeulen, 65.

Referee: W Barnes (RFU)

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement