Fierce, intense, tight and stressful, the summit clash between South Africa and Ireland kept all its promises. But it was ultimately the XV du Trèfle which won the standoff (13-8). Despite the fight put on by the Springboks, Jonathan Sexton's teammates took the lead at the break thanks to a try from Mack Hansen before resisting the South Africans' comeback in the second half.
From the first impacts, the shoulders heated up. Willemse for South Africa then Ringrose and Sexton for Ireland were shaken. However, the Springboks had the best thanks to a penalty from Libbok (6th), following a lack of pragmatism from the Irish. But Andy Farrell's men then took the upper hand in the ruck war.
Doris, van der Flier and Beirne got their hands on several times, collecting numerous penalties. And logically, following a breakthrough in the center of Bundee Aki's field, the XV of Clover planted the first banner of the match thanks to Mack Hansen (34th). The Australian-born winger, shifted by James Lowe, flattened and allowed his team to take control for the first time in the match.
Annoyed, the Boks reacted thanks to Cheslin Kolbe. The former Toulouse and Toulon winger recovered a skipped pass from Libbok to score the reaction try (52nd). But Sexton, without trembling, put his team back in front at the hour mark thanks to a penalty. Note that Manie Libbok and Faf de Klerk missed four kicks. Impactful but clumsy like a breakthrough from Snyman wasted by a forward on the wing from Du Toit, South Africa made too many errors to hope to win the game.
Three minutes from the end, Crowley, Sexton's replacement, rewarded the effort of his forward pack with a penalty against the poles. And on a final touch from five meters, Andy Farrell's men defended perfectly, defeating their evening opponents. Ireland, world number 1 in the World Rugby rankings, logically won against the reigning world champions and sent a strong signal to the French XV and the other contenders for the title...