Port Elizabeth – The Springboks had to defend for all their lives worth at they beat Ireland 19-13 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night to clinch the closely fought series 2-1.
Both teams just scored one try each, both in the first half, but this time the Boks had to rely on their defence to save the day as Ireland camped on their goalline in those nerve-wrecking final few minutes.
Ireland however enjoyed a monopoly of territory and possession and the visitors made most of the play as the Boks desperately tries to hang on in defence as Ireland posted wave after wave of attack in the dying few minutes.
After a tight first half with the Boks leading just 13-10 the first quarter of the second half was fierce before wing Ruan Combrinck landed a 52m penalty in the 57th minute to stretch the Boks lead to 16-10 as soon as Steven Kitshoff and Julian Redelinghuys replaced starting props Beast Mtawarira and Frans Malherbe and won a scrum penalty.
In the 60th minute the 32 232 crowd almost erupted as flank Jaco Kriel came on for his debut Test replacing Siya Kolisi, but the two players of the game was undoubtedly Ireland flank CJ Stander and Bok scrummie Faf de Klerk.
Bok flyhalf Elton Jantjies stretched the Boks lead even further to 19-10 by the 68th minute when referee Glen Jackson ruled that Ireland were sealing off at the ruck, but barely two minutes later Jackson reduced matters once again to 19-13 with the Boks ruled off their feet by the masterful Irish breakdwon technique.
Earlier the Boks were first on the board when Jantjies landed a penalty in the fourth minute after Jackson ruled Ireland were off-side and the Boks lead 3-0.
In the 11th minute the Boks were dealt a blow when Willie le Roux received a yellow card for making contact in the air with Ireland fullback Tiernan O’Hollaran.
Even though they both went up in the air O’Hollaran was higher and was always going to get the benefit while Le Roux touch him in their air resulting in O’Hollaran falling badly on his neck.
In the 13th minute Ireland scored the opening try of the game when centre Luke Marshall exposed Jantjies and with Jackson converting Ireland went up 7-3.
While Jantjies missed his second attempt in the eighth minute and Jackson squandering another attempt in the 20th Ireland went up 10-3 in the 23rd minute when Jackson punished Whiteley for an off-side infringement.
In the 32nd minute Jantjies pulled one back for the Boks to trail by just 10-6, but Ireland were full of running while the Boks defence stood firm.
In the 40th minute on the stroke of halftime the Boks found the breakthrough they wanted with leftwing JP Pietersen perfectly controlling a well judged cross-kick from Jantjies to go over and with Jantjies converting the tricky kick from the touchline the Boks went into the with their tails up 13-10.