Considering Ireland only beat South Africa once in 16 attempts before November 2004, the three consecutive wins throughout the noughties heralded Ireland’s most successful reign over Southern hemisphere opposition.
However, since then, the Springboks have got their mojo back, with back-to-back triumphs away from home. Brian Barry casts his eye back over the three victories in Dublin.
Ireland 17-12 South Africa
Lansdowne Road – 13th November, 2004
Ireland were just kicking off the ‘Golden Generation’, following a Triple Crown victory in the Spring. Ronan O’Gara was in spectacular form, scoring all of Ireland’s points, including a cheeky gambit from five yards out. Two Percy Montgomory penalties set up a tight finish, but the Irish held out.
Ireland 32-15 South Africa
Lansdowne Road – 11th November 2006
The Springboks came to Dublin one year before their World Cup victory in France, and were emphatically sent packing. The Irish were simply awesome.
Tries from Andrew Trimble, David Wallace, Marcus Horan, and Shane Horgan ensured a second consecutive victory against South Africa, and for the first time ever, Ireland scored four tries against this opposition. South Africa touched down through Bryan Habana, and a debutant by the name of Francois Steyn. Nonetheless, the Irish were full value for their comprehensive win.
Ireland 15-10 South Africa
Croke Park – 28th November 2009
It was the day Jonny Sexton came of age in the green of Ireland. Coach Declan Kidney placed his faith in the Dubliner at out-half; ending O’Gara’s automatic entitlement to the number ten shirt.
There were calls that it was not the time for experimentation, considering South Africa arrived in Dublin off the back of a Tri-Nations success and victory over the touring Lions squad. But Sexton, on just his second cap, oozed class, and booted Ireland to victory.
Brian Barry, Pundit Arena.
Read More About: andrew trimble, bryan habana, david wallace, Declan Kidney, francois steyn, Ireland, irish rugby, jonny sexton, marcus horan, percy montgomory, ronan o'gara, shane horgan, south africa