Wednesday, July 17, 2024

South Africa v Ireland: Can Irish win series on Springbok soil?

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While Ireland have beaten the Springboks in each of their past three meetings, their record in South Africa is not much to shout about, with one win and nine defeats.

That sole victory came during their 2016 tour when Joe Schmidt’s side shrugged off CJ Stander’s 22nd-minute red card to beat the Boks 20-16 in Cape Town.

Allister Coetzee’s side, however, regrouped to win Tests in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, denying Ireland a historic series win.

Since then, of course, Ireland have won series against Australia in 2018 (their first against the Wallabies since 1979) and the All Blacks in 2022, the latter marking a historic first series triumph on New Zealand soil.

And while Schmidt’s Ireland were a well-oiled unit, Andy Farrell’s side are arguably even better.

The World Cup was ultimately a disappointment and they failed to clinch back-to-back Grand Slams in this year’s Six Nations, but they will feel they are still well placed to win a series in South Africa.

Of course, with this being a two-Test tour, the likelihood of a draw increases. But if Ireland can replicate the spirit that underpinned their wins over the All Blacks in Dunedin and Wellington two years ago, they stand a chance.

It is also worth noting that this could be Ireland’s last chance. With the British and Irish Lions tour next year and the introduction of the Nations Championship in 2026, this could be the last traditional tour to South Africa for a while.

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