Rugby: 14-man Ireland shock Springboks to record first win in South Africa

Springbok's Frans Malherbe (right) tackles Ireland's Jared Payne (centre) during the match between Ireland and South Africa at Newlands Stadium on June 11.
Springbok's Frans Malherbe (right) tackles Ireland's Jared Payne (centre) during the match between Ireland and South Africa at Newlands Stadium on June 11.PHOTO: EPA

CAPE TOWN (AFP) - Ireland overcame playing 57 minutes a man short to shock the Springboks 26-20 on Saturday and clinch a landmark first victory in South Africa.

Flanker C.J. Stander was red-carded for a dangerous tackle, but it did not stop the visitors winning a Test in the republic for the first time after seven defeats since 1961.

French referee Mathieu Raynal also yellow-carded Springboks lock Lood de Jager and Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw during the opening half of the first Test.

South Africa were a major disappointment under new coach Allister Coetzee and new captain Adriaan Strauss, looking lethargic for much of the game.

The teams meet again next Saturday in Johannesburg and in Port Elizabeth on June 25.

"It took an unbelievable effort with 14 men to achieve victory," said Ireland hooker and skipper Rory Best.

"We had to dig really deep and a lot of very tired Irish boys trooped off the pitch at the end. Our plan when a man short was to own the ball.

"Credit to our half-backs (fly-half Paddy Jackson and scrum-half Conor Murray) for running the game and our bench made a huge impact."

Strauss admitted: "We had chances to score more points, but made too many unforced errors and gave away too many penalties."

Only eight Springboks who started in the World Cup third-place play-off victory over Argentina last October began their first Test this season.

Those missing included retired centre Jean de Villiers and lock Victor Matfield and winger Bryan Habana, who is set to play in the Rio Olympics sevens.

The preference of Coetzee for locals meant no call-ups for hooker Bismarck du Plessis and prop Jannie, his elder brother, who play in France.

Lambie was right and wide with an early long-range penalty attempt before Ireland took the lead on 11 minutes.

A clever kick behind the defence by centre Luke Marshall allowed full-back Jared Payne to race in and dot down.

De Jager was yellow-carded for foul play during the build-up to the score.

Jackson, deputising for injured star Johnny Sexton, converted and slotted a penalty to give the Irish a 10-3 advantage.

Ireland were reduced to 14 men when a late tackle by South Africa-born Stander floored Lambie and he was sent off.

Elton Jantjies, who replaced concussed Lambie, kicked a simple penalty, then his brilliant inside pass sent left wing Lwazi Mvovo over to score.

Henshaw made a late, high tackle on Jantjies during the build-up to the score and was sin-binned.

Despite being two men short, the visitors equalised three minutes before half-time with a Jackson drop-goal making it 13-13 at half-time.

Three minutes into the second half, Ireland regained the lead when Murray dotted down after a good Payne off-lead. Jackson converted.

As the game entered the final quarter, a hushed stadium signified the frustration of Springbok fans as the team struggled to make a numerical advantage pay.

A Jackson penalty stretched the lead to 10 points before his pass was intercepted by lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, who darted over and Jantjies converted.

But another Jackson penalty closed the scoring and a late Springboks attempt to grab an undeserved win ended with winger J.P. Pietersen bundled into touch.