Springboks seek to avenge humiliating loss against Ireland

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The South African men’s rugby team will be looking to avenge the humiliating 38-3 loss they suffered to Ireland five years ago.

The world champions will kick-off their four match year-end European tour against the top-ranked Irish in Dublin on Saturday.

The last time the Springboks played against Ireland in Dublin, they were humiliated 38-3 – the biggest defeat ever against the Irish. The match was one of previous coach Allister Coetzee’s last test matches in charge of the Boks.

However, the Springboks have changed dramatically since then, with Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber replacing Coetzee and most importantly, winning the World Cup in 2019.

SA’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus says, “We got proper hiding, 38-3, as you said correctly so, but in the next two years things got better. We managed to win the world cup. So, five years since then both teams have changed dramatically in terms of how they do things and how they play and Ireland are doing a lot of right things on and off the field.”

Erasmus had a coaching stint in Ireland with the provincial side Munster as the Director of Rugby as well as the head coach before becoming South Africa’s Director of Rugby. He also won the Coach of the Season Award during that time.

Erasmus says his knowledge of Irish Rugby would not give the Boks an advantage.

“I think me knowing the Irish setup very well, but Irish people know me very well, Irish players and coaches, you can look at it the other way. So, whenever you get inside you also give a lot away.”

The Boks have faced Ireland 16 times on Irish soil, winning nine times with just one draw. The last time the Boks won in Ireland was in 2012, when they registered back-to-back victories.

It has been raining in Dublin throughout the week, but Boks player Eben Etzebeth will adapt to whatever conditions present themselves.

“Just on the preparation, everything went well today, we experienced some rain, lots of wind than earlier during the week, it was lot drier, so we are used to all the weather conditions. So, whatever comes on Saturday we have experienced both.”

The forward packs from both teams will be looking to stamp their authority on the encounter.

Etzebeth is wary of the challenge the Irish might pose.

“You saw in the series against New Zealand, they have quite a strong maul and they also got good scrum. They won couple of scrum penalties in that series and they are very clinical and they know exactly their job and they do it very well.”

The Springboks will meet France in the second Test in Marseille the following Saturday.

Author:  Vincent Sitsula