Rónan Kelleher and Ireland endure nightmare start, before bold call, in Paris
It is not all on one man, but you really have to feel for him. It was a tough watch.
Ronan Kelleher played his first game of the season, last weekend, against Tonga so a game against reigning world champions, South Africa was always going to be a huge step up.
The Leinster hooker started the game off brilliant with a thumping tackle on Damien Willemse that had the Irish fans all out of their seat. It forced a Springbok error but then came the wobbles.
Ireland lost that lineout and four more in a shaky first half, and also had scrummaging issues - being penalised after their first two engagements. While Kelleher was all industry in the loose - sticking 10 tackles and hitting plenty of rucks - his name was trending across social media, for good and bad reasons.
Making an early statement
Kelleher killing folk... made at least 5 tackles already
— Kitsie's Misfits (@loosest_the) September 23, 2023
Kelleher with the perfect tackle!
— Nic O'Leary (@nolearyASM) September 23, 2023
Willemse turned square into Kelleher there. Great tackle though. #RSAvsIRE
— Tom (@IamTom1975) September 23, 2023
The lineout started to wobble
Ireland need to think about changing Kelleher here. Shocking line out so far. #IREvRSA
— URC Pundit (@HiraethPolitics) September 23, 2023
Kelleher couldn’t throw a party in coppers, get him off🏉
— Franklin Smithers (@thefendifella) September 23, 2023
We started Kelleher over Herring why???? 0/4 Lineouts and all from bad throws #IREvRSA
— Andy Wilson (@Andywilson2904) September 23, 2023
Brave Ronan Kelleher call pays off
Near the end of the first half, Ronan Kelleher was backed with a lineout throw from five metres out. Most teams would have taken the points on offer, from the tee, but they backed Kelleher.
On this occasion, his throw was accurate, and it was claimed. Ireland set up camp on the Springbok tryline and they ended up scoring through Mack Hansen.
Pressure on kelleher there was huge, a fella who hasn't played much rugby in last 2 years. Sexton starting to weave some magic. Quelle essai!
— Simon Hick (@hicksimon) September 23, 2023
It was indeed a brave call and the pressure on Ronan Kelleher was immense. His team trusted him and he came up with a big-time throw when it mattered.
HOUSE OF RUGBY WITH DARREN CAVE & CJ STANDER
- "We are going to physically mangle these guys" - South Africans fire warning to Ireland
- Robbie Henshaw puts personal ambitions to one side with selfless post-match comments
- Paul O'Connell on his most treasured jersey swap and toughest opponent
- Tommy Bowe backs Jack Crowley as World Cup 'deputy' to Johnny Sexton