Ireland go down to South Africa: The match in 60 seconds

Ireland go down to South Africa: The match in 60 seconds
Luke Marshall breaks through the tackle of Elton Jantjies on the way to scoring Ireland's first try against South Africa. Picture: Sportsfile

South Africa v Ireland 60 Seconds

South Africa 19 Ireland 13

By Simon Lewis, in Port Elizabeth

Key moment: It went right down to the wire, as all compelling sporting contests do, and it took scrum-half Faf de Klerk to shoot out of the line and deny Keith Earls a past-the-hooter try. The feisty de Klerk had only made his debut in the first Test but he really made an impact when it mattered, a brilliant intercept and catch in the right corner to halt a Paddy Jackson pass when Ireland had a 3-on-1 overlap and then right at the death to stop Earls and clinch the series.

Talking point: So near and yet so far for Ireland as an historic series victory in South Africa just eludes the tourists but this tour should not be considered a failure. Joe Schmidt's men can go home as the first Irish side to win a Test in the Springboks' backyard and the head coach has done it whilst blooding Test newcomers and giving further experience to a handful of youngsters who now know how to win in the Southern Hemisphere. That is a healthy deposit for the Ireland bank from this trip.

Key man: After his defensive heroics, that man Faf de Klerk made the difference for the Springboks. The feisty Lions number nine filled the potential void caused by Fourie du Preez's retirement after the World Cup, Ruan Pienaar's decision to stay in Ulster, and Francois Hougaard's defection to the South African sevens set-up, de Klerk now looks to be the ready-made replacement.

Ref watch: On a day that saw Nigel Owens fail to card Australia's Will Skelton for taking out an England player in mid-air, Glen Jackson made the right choice in issuing a yellow card to Springboks full-back Willie Le Roux for a similar assault on opposite number Tiernan O'Halloran.

Penalties conceded: South Africa 10 +2 free kicks; Ireland 11 + 2

Injuries: Tiernan O'Halloran was forced to leave the field after that mid-air clean out by Le Roux and though he returned following his Head Injury Assessment, the Connacht full-back making his first start for Ireland failed to reappear for the second half. There was a further worry when Luke Marshall was also forced off for an HIA.

Next up: Finally, finally, Ireland's rugby season is at an end. The provinces may have already begun pre-season training but Joe Schmidt's players can finally hang up the boots for a few weeks after signing off on a 17 Test campaign that began last June 29.

Enjoy the holidays lads.

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