Ireland hold on with 14 men to seal historic first win in South Africa

• South Africa 20-26 Ireland

Take nothing away from Joe Schmidt’s side but perhaps the most remarkable thing about Ireland’s first ever win on South African soil, despite losing CJ Stander to a red card midway through the first half, is just how comfortable it was, barring a few nerve-jangling moments at the death. All over Ireland’s defensive rearguard were Andy Farrell’s fingerprints – the new defence coach clearly having a considerable impact – but they led by seven when Stander departed, and did so for most of the second half – only an intercept try from South Africa ensuring a jittery finish.

Ireland’s heroes were plentiful, defiant but they were far from desperate. Iain Henderson and Devin Toner were monumental in the second row, Rory Best an inspirational captain but Paddy Jackson excellent too at fly-half. His drop goal just before half-time levelled the scores but felt like delaying the inevitable. Instead he marshalled Ireland’s superb second-half showing that leaves Allister Coetzee with some difficult questions to answer after his first match in charge of the Springboks.

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