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Springboks can still 'dominate' Ireland in one facet of game

By Ian Cameron
Tadhg Furlong of Ireland is tackled by Eben Etzebeth of South Africa during the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Former South Africa head coach Nick Mallett believes that the Springboks still have it in their wheel house to beat Ireland at the Rugby World Cup.


Despite the Six Nations champions Ireland being the most consistent team in world rugby for the last 10 months or so and are currently ranked No.1, Mallett remains confident about South Africa’s chances.

The Boks will be facing Ireland and Scotland in Pool B of the World Cup in six months’ time, and may also potentially face the hosts France in the quarter-finals.

Mallett shared his views on the performances of the three countries in the 2023 Six Nations in his Sport24 column. He expressed his belief that South Africa still has “the team to match and beat any side” that played in the competition.

“On a results basis and given who they have beaten over the last 18 months, Ireland are rightly the best side in the world presently,” he writes.

“Even so, the one big area where the Springboks dominate Ireland is in the tight five, particularly in the front row. If the Boks play a game where they can win the battle of the scrum penalties, they will be in a good position because their first-string front row is better than Ireland’s.

“The one significant danger of the Irish side is their ability to vary their game. They don’t just thrive off driving maul; they have many attacking options off their lineout, making them very difficult to play against.


“The Springboks, however, have a contesting lineout that is very competitive and, off their own ball, the Boks have a driving maul that is incredibly difficult to stop with the forwards they have. If anyone can beat Ireland, South Africa can.”

South Africa has a historical dominance over Ireland in rugby union, having won 19 out of their 27 matches against each other.


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