Match Centre: Rugby World Cup Pool B: South Africa 8-13 Ireland

Mack Hansen of Ireland scores his team's first try during the Rugby World Cup game against South Africa
Mack Hansen of Ireland scores his team's first try during the Rugby World Cup game against South Africa
©Photo by Julian Finney - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

South Africa 8-13 Ireland, Pool B, Stade de France

Ireland have maintained their position at the top of Pool B after edging out defending champions South Africa with a 13-8 margin in their Rugby World Cup encounter in Paris.

One of the most anticipated game in the group stage saw Ireland stretch their winning streak to 16 games as they are on the verge of a quarter-final while South Africa suffered their first defeat in the last nine World Cup games.

Ireland already had the head to head advantage having won four out of their last six games against the Boks previously but Jacques Nienaber would be concerned by their unreliable goal kicking which could have made the difference.

As South Africa were penalised for an offside, Manie Libbok started the proceedings with a kick from the tee to provide them an early 3-0 lead. With close to 80,000 spectators, Ireland were kept at bay by a strong defence from South Africa adding to their frustration.

South Africa extended their physical game which was anticipated while Ireland's Garry Ringrose left the field for a Head Injury Assessment in the 21st minute but managed to return back after clearing it 13 minutes later calming the nerves of 30,000 Irish fans in the stadium.

Jesse Kriel looked dangerous to score but a tackle from Bundee Aki, who won his 50th cap ensured the gap remained at three points. After weathering the South African storm, Ireland began to gain momentum as Mack Hansen collected a long floated pass from Johnny Sexton to dive in the corner in the 33rd minute. Sexton's conversion meant Ireland had a 3-7 lead heading into the break.

Jasper Wiese won a turnover penalty early in the second half which Faf De Klerk failed to convert but South Africa eventually seized the lead as Libbok fired a long pass for Cheslin Kolbe to touchdown. But the young fly-half missed out on the conversion as the scoreline remained at 8-7.

With Frans Malherbe collapsing a scrum, Sexton kicked a penalty to put Ireland back in front as South Africa's problems compounded with Libbok and de Klerk missing a penalty kick apiece in quick succession as the game entered the final 10 minutes with Ireland holding a slender 8-10 lead.

Any chance of a South African comeback was sealed with three minutes left in the game as Ireland won a scrum penalty which Jack Crowley kicked to perfection to ensure they stretched their winning streak to 16 games.

Points Table:

Points Table: Pool B

Position Team Played Won Lost Points
1 Ireland 3 3 0 14
2 South Africa 3 2 1 10
3 Scotland 1 0 1 0
4 Tonga 1 0 1 0
5 Romania 2 0 2 0

What's Next:

Ireland will be facing their Six Nations rivals in the group Scotland next on 7th October while South Africa will be heading to Marseille to take on Tonga on 1st October.

Match Reactions:

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber credited Ireland for their stern performance.

"It was a proper test match. Like I said before the game, I think both teams would learn a lot from this game, the two best teams playing against each other, which is a great test and preparation going forward.

"The pressure is on us to do well against Tonga to get a result there so that we can get out of our pool."

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell felt their defence proved to be the difference between the two sides.

"It was some battle, a tale of two halves, I thought we dominated field position in the first and they did in the second. At times we were hanging on in there.

"Simon Easterby [defence coach] has them whipped up into a frenzy. When a side is in a groove like that it says everything about their attitude."

Team line up:

South Africa: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Reserves: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 RG Snyman, 21 Marco van Staden, 22 Kwagga Smith, 23 Cobus Reinach

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 1 Andrew Porter

Reserves: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 David Kilcoyne, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Robbie Henshaw