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06th Jul 2024

Player Ratings: Ireland stutter to defeat against South Africa

Ronan Calvert

Ireland South Africa

This is how we rated Ireland against South Africa

Ireland have fallen to a 27-20 defeat to Rassie Erasmus’s South Africa in the first game of a two-test series.

Debutant Jamie Osbourne scored for Ireland in the first half but Springbok tries from Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse preceded a match-winning penalty try earned by the hosts’ monstrous pack.

Substitutes Conor Murray and Ryan Baird struck for Ireland either side of the all-important penalty try but South Africa had one hand on victory from early on in this contest.

This is how rated Andy Farrell‘s men in what was a tough test match in Pretoria.

Andrew Porter: 6

Impressive at scrum time and his work-rate continues to amaze.

Went off his feet in the 28th minute to hand South Africa three points on a silver platter.

Went off the pitch in the 53rd minute with what looked like a hand injury, but returned soon later.

Dan Sheehan: 5

Crooked lineout around the twentieth-minute mark was a psychological blow for Ireland as they tried to build momentum.

Did some nice work in the build-up to Osbourne’s try but departed at half-time due to injury.

Tadhg Furlong: 5

Not as effective around the park as he once was but still a rock in the scrum.

Without that platform this game could have been an awful lot worse for Andy Farrell’s men.

Tadhg Beirne: 6

Put some badly needed pressure on the ‘Bok breakdown but could have done with more help.

An important cog in Ireland’s varied attacking play, even if it wasn’t at its best today.

Joe McCarthy: 4

Gave away a soft penalty in the first half for not rolling away.

Then had little impact for the rest of the half and fumbled a lineout early in the second half which could have proven costly.

Hauled ashore in the fiftieth minute.

Peter O’Mahony: 5

Never really got going in this one. South Africa dominated possession with O’Mahony unable to disrupt proceedings with his usual game-changing contributions.

Damien De Allende squatting him aside twice in a matter of seconds encapsulated the physical entity he and his team were up against today.

Josh Van der Flier: 6

Tried his best to generate speed in Ireland’s breakdown and power in their carrying game.

Won a brilliant turnover in the 53rd minute when his teammates looked to be wilting.

Faded towards the end – as you expect for a player doing the work of two men at altitude.

Caelin Doris: 6

Made mistakes in the early exchanges and took a while to recover.

A good turnover in the 26th minute when South Africa were pressing was important – both for Ireland’s fortunes and his mojo.

He’s had better days but he was still one of Ireland’s better performers, nearly scoring in the last quarter.

Craig Casey: 6

Would have liked more time in possession. His deliveries are some of the best in the game but spent most of the day in a defensive capacity.

Excellent 50/22 kick after the hour mark was the highlight of what was a good experience for him overall.

Until his day was ended by a cowardly follow-through from RG Snyman, anyway.

Jack Crowley: 5

Struck his first penalty of the game with aplomb. Struck his second horribly, and his third was even worse.

But kept South Africa on their toes with some contestable kicks and defended bravely. That’s worth a lot.

James Lowe: 4

Lost his battle against Cheslin Kolbe, falling off a couple of tackles against the quick-stepping wideman.

He did produce the best moment of the match, doing unbelievably well to stay in touch and offload the ball to Jamie Osbourne for his first international try.

But then ruined any credit he had in the bank by doing the very same to set up a Kolbe try in the last quarter.

And made matters worse by making a meal of a late South Africa kick-off which resulted in a penalty try.

Bundee Aki: 4

Ireland were smothered in attack, leaving Aki unable to repeat his heroics from the last time these two heavyweights met in Rugby World Cup pool stages.

Conceded a penalty just after the break to hand South Africa the first round of the second half.

Handling errors followed.

Robbie Henshaw: 5

Took a huge impact from Siya Kolisi to the chest after fifteen minutes.

Battled through the first half but was replaced by Ringrose for the second forty.

Calvin Nash: 5

Forced to come very far infield for South Africa’s first real attack of the game and Ireland were punished when he couldn’t recover.

Did okay in the air but this wasn’t one to remember for the Munster speedster.

Jamie Osbourne: 5

Could do little for the ‘Boks opening try and confidence could have been damaged after fumbling a Cheslin Kolbe clearance into touch soon later.

He rebounded and scored Ireland’s first try of the game with some tidy support play off James Lowe’s right shoulder.

Substituted for Ciaran Frawley after fifty minutes.

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