Ireland 38-3 South Africa: Woeful Springboks hammered by Joe Schmidt's men
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 12/11/17 2:04pm
Ireland brushed past a woeful South Africa side to come away from their opening autumn international with a 38-3 win at the Aviva Stadium.
The Springboks came into the clash on the back of a thrilling one-point loss to the All Blacks, but showed none of the same passion and desire as Ireland were allowed to ease to victory in front of their jubilant home support on Saturday.
The under-par Boks were in stark contrast to an Irish side that impressed with their energy and tactical kicking, showing the visitors - who made puzzling decisions throughout - how to properly control a Test match.
Silly penalties from the Boks allowed Johnny Sexton to open up an early 9-0 lead for Ireland, before Andrew Conway took advantage of a Courtnall Skosan mistake to score the first try of the game in the corner. The conversion was missed, but Ireland were comfortably ahead at the break at 14-0.
The Springboks showed some improvement at the beginning of the second half, notching their first points of the game with a kick at goal after piling rare pressure on the opposition, but from there on it was business as usual as Ireland were allowed to run freely at the Aviva Stadium.
First Sexton cancelled out Elton Jantjies' kick with his fourth penalty, after which Ireland opened up the floodgates with three scores in the latter stages of the game.
Rhys Ruddock wrestled his way over in the 72nd minute, then Rob Herring profited from being at the back of a driving maul, before Jacob Stockdale brought down the curtain on the game with a try in the final move of the match.
While the Boks were never really at the races, at 9-0 down they were still in with a sniff. However Conway's try, which came after Skosan failed to deal with a regulation high ball, put Ireland two scores ahead, and the Boks were unable to recover from the deficit.
Moment of the match
Bundee Aki, who came under criticism from some sectors of the rugby community, got his debut underway with a huge hit on Coenie Oosthuizen.
Though Aki would not have taken any delight in the injury suffered by Oosthuizen, who left the field after falling awkwardly in the tackle, the hit will have pleased the Connacht man and eased his nerves early on.
Tweet of the match
We are piling into them here, great to see us out muscling S.A🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪— Ian madigan (@Ian_madigan) November 11, 2017
Ireland's Sean O'Brien said the Test was tougher than the scoreline suggested.
South Africa flanker Francois Louw says the defeat is 'up there with some of the worst' Springbok losses.