South Africa’s lack of accuracy close to the Ireland tryline and off the kicking tee were major contributors to their epic 13-8 loss in a Rugby World Cup Pool B showdown on Saturday but the belief that they can win the World Cup still burns bright.
Ireland were deserved winners and underlined their status as the number one ranked side in the world as they were able to withstand the Springbok pressure and take the chances they created.
By contrast, South Africa had numerous entries into the Ireland 22 but a mixture of excellent defence and their own inaccuracy proved costly as they slipped to a first World Cup defeat in nine games.
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They were also not helped by a missed conversion and penalty from flyhalf Manie Libbok and two missed penalties by scrumhalf Faf de Klerk which meant they left 11 points out there.
“Hats off to Ireland, we missed a couple of points off the tee but I won’t say it’s only goal-kicking (that was the problem),” coach Jacques Nienaber said.
“We lost two balls close to the Ireland tryline and we had another opportunity late on in the game. Ireland were better than us on the night, no complaints.”
Nienaber said: “We have got a big game in eight days against Tonga to get out of the pool. From a team perspective, we will have got good preparation from this game, just unfortunately not the result.”
Nienaber added the defeat did not in any way diminish their belief that they could retain their World Cup crown.