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Defeat to 14-man Ireland is among South Africa's worst in history, says Thinus Delport

Siya Kolisi of the Springboks tackled by Jamie Heaslip of Ireland during the 1st Castle Lager Incoming Series Test match
Image: Siya Kolisi is tackled by Jamie Heaslip (r) and Jordi Murphy

Sky Sports pundit Thinus Delport ranked the Springboks' loss to Ireland on Saturday among the worst in their history.

Ireland delivered an historic victory to beat the Springboks for the first time on South African soil, despite playing for 58 minutes with 14 men after CJ Stander was shown a red card for a collision with Pat Lambie.

The defeat came as another blow to Springbok pride. The current crop lost to Argentina for the first time in their history during last year's Rugby Championship, before going on to famously lose to Japan in the group stages of the World Cup later in the year.

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Delport was complimentary of Ireland, but says losing to 14 men on home soil is among the worst defeats in recent Springbok history.

"It ranks similarly to those other shock losses," said Delport.

"It should be said, Ireland are a very good team. They are consistently in the top five or six sides in the world, and not long ago they won back-to-back Six Nations.

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Alan Quinlan gives his reaction to Ireland's historic victory over South Africa

"Additionally, going into Saturday's game Ireland had won four of the last nine games against South Africa since 2000.

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"But to lose at home, when the opposition had 14 men on the field for almost an hour is slightly embarrassing.

"It's definitely in the top five worst losses for South Africa in recent times."

The 18-Test international says the consequences go beyond the current series against Joe Schmidt's side.

"It's not just a win for Ireland. It's the confidence gained by other countries who now know they can overcome that hurdle, which is a psychological win for them.

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Sir Graham Henry says Ireland defended brilliantly with 14 men in their win over South Africa and singles out Conor Murray and Paddy Jackson for praise

"South Africa's no longer the fortress it used to be. The results of recent times have meant the Springboks are losing that psychological battle."

The former Bok says the way the Springboks played the game at Newlands appeared to contradict the direction of new coach Allister Coetzee in the build-up.

"Coetzee said they weren't going to change too much.

"He said they wanted to develop their game but build on the basics of Springbok rugby foremost. Unfortunately the players got caught between two mind-sets."

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Jamie Heaslip admits Ireland face an uphill task to win the series against South Africa, despite beating them in the opening test

Delport believes the Springbok players suffered from a lack of awareness in Cape Town on Saturday.

"To emphasise what Coetzee said after the game about tactical naivety, the players wanted to play too much rugby in the wrong areas of the field and that cost them.

"When they were caught with the ball out wide they were exposed and turned over.

"For me a big concern was the urgency on the day. Not enough support for the ball carriers at the breakdown, and when some players did get to the ruck they would give away penalties for going off their feet.

"Conceding penalties when you're in possession is bad mental application. You have to get that right before you even look at the defence.

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Highlights of Ireland's first Test against South Africa in Cape Town.

"If South Africa hadn't conceded those penalties they would have built pressure and made the Irish tackle for longer, which would have resulted in them tiring out as you'd expect with one man less to defend."

Despite the loss, the 41-year-old does not believe Coetzee should wield the axe ahead of the second Test in Johannesburg this weekend.

"You can't make wholesale changes in a knee-jerk reaction," said Delport. "The players will be very aware what went wrong for them on the day.

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"They will feel the sting of the media and the fans, and will mentally be a different side from the one we saw in Cape Town.

"As recently as the World Cup we saw the reaction on the back of the loss to Japan, the side changed and put up much better performances against Samoa, Scotland and USA.

"It's a pity that it happened, but the Boks normally have a big reaction to losses like that, so hopefully that trend continues."

Tune in for the second Test between South Africa and Ireland, live on Sky Sports 1 from 3.30pm this Saturday

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