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History of rugby union matches between Ireland and South Africa


History of rugby union matches between Ireland and South Africa

The Ireland and South Africa rugby union teams have a rivalry dating back to 1906. The Springboks of South Africa have dominated the meetings, with the Irish achieving only five victories. Ireland have never beaten the Springboks in South Africa.

The teams' meeting on 6 November 2010 was the first Ireland Test at their new home of Aviva Stadium, where Ireland lost 23-21.


  • 2004 Ireland rugby union tour of South Africa 1
  • 2004 Autumn Internationals 2
  • 2006 Autumn Internationals 3
  • Summary 4
    • Overall 4.1
    • Records 4.2
  • Results 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

2004 Ireland rugby union tour of South Africa

Ireland travelled to South Africa in June 2004, having won their first Triple Crown since 1985, and beaten the champions of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, England in their first home game since the final.[1] As a result, the Irish manager, Eddie O'Sullivan, was confident that Ireland would achieve their first win over South Africa in 39 years, their only previous victory having come in Dublin in 1965.

By contrast, South Africa had just changed their coach to Jake White and he had radically changed the team for his first test since taking charge of the Springboks. The first of the two game test series was played at altitude in Bloemfontein and South Africa eventually won the match 31-17, despite the scores being level at 11-all at half time.[2]

The second match was played in the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, and was a closer affair. However, South Africa maintained their unbeaten record against Ireland on home soil by winning 26-17.[3]

2004 Autumn Internationals

The two teams were to meet again in November 2004 when South Africa toured the UK and Ireland, playing each of the home nations. In the lead-up to the match, South African coach Jake White provided additional motivation to the Irish team by publicly repeating his statement from earlier in the year that "only three Irish players would be good enough to get onto the South African team".[4]

The game's only try was scored in controversial circumstances by Irish fly-half Ronan O'Gara. In the 21st minute, New Zealand referee Paul Honiss awarded Ireland a penalty inside the South African 22 and signalled for John Smit to talk to his players regarding their repeated infringements at the break-down. While Smit's back was turned, O'Gara took a quick tap and ran in for five points. O'Gara missed the conversion, but was to make up for it with a drop goal from 35 meters 12 minutes later. Percy Montgomery put the first points on the board for South Africa on 26 minutes, but missed a second effort shortly afterwards. Ireland led 8-3 at the break.

O'Gara continued his success with the boot three minutes after the start of the second half with a penalty to stretch the Irish lead to 11-3. Montgomery quickly responded in kind, but shortly afterwards Schalk Burger was sin-binned for the second week in a row, which allowed Ronan O'Gara to increase the Irish lead to 14-6. A late tackle on Irish skipper Brian O'Driscoll allowed O'Gara to increase the margin between the teams to 17-6. Percy Montgomery landed two more penalties, but Ireland hung on to win only their second victory over the Springboks, 17-12.[5][6]

2006 Autumn Internationals

On Saturday, November the 11th, 2006, the Springboks came to Lansdowne Road with an experimental side, including three debutants in the back three. The team was selected by head coach Jake White as a way of blooding players for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and South Africa's urgent need to develop new players in the lead up to that tournament. By contrast, Ireland's coach, Eddie O'Sullivan chose Ireland's strongest available team, hoping to take a prized southern hemisphere scalp and boost his team's morale.

The day of the match was a clear, wintry day, but as the late kick off time of 5pm approached, the infamous 'swirling winds of Lansdowne Road' began to blow. South Africa won the toss and chose to play into the wind in the first half, starting the game with a fine display of running rugby. On their first visit to the Irish half, they returned with points as their out half Andre Pretorius kicked a penalty into the wind. The Irish responded with a barging run by Denis Leamy who made the hard yards before passing to Ronan O'Gara, who then passed back inside to Andrew Trimble who found his way over for Ireland's first points.

From there, Ireland scored two more Ronan O'Gara scored the last points of the match with the conversion for a final score of 32-15.[7][8]

For the 2006 November Test against Ireland the Springboks wore an exact replica of the jersey that was worn by the touring side captained by Paul Roos in 1906. It was on this tour that the name 'Springboks' was coined. The kit consisted of a green jersey with a white collar, blue shorts and blue socks. Sponsors Sasol did not appear on the jersey. The strip was a part of South African rugby's centenary celebrations.



Details Played Won by
Won by
 South Africa
Drawn Ireland points South Africa points
In Ireland 15 5 9 1 197 246
In South Africa 7 0 7 0 80 186
Neutral venue 0 0 0 0 0 0
Overall 22 5 16 1 277 432


Note: Date shown in brackets indicates when the record was or last set.
Record Ireland South Africa
Longest winning streak 3 (13 Nov 2004–6 Nov 2010) 8 (30 May 1981–13 Nov 2004)
Largest points for
Home 32 (11 November 2006) 37 (13 June 1998)
Away 17 (19 June 2004) 38 (30 November 1912)
Largest winning margin
Home 17 (11 November 2006) 33 (20 June 1998)
Away NA 38 (30 November 1912)


No. Date Venue Score Winner Competition
22 8 November 2014 Aviva Stadium, Dublin 29 – 15  Ireland 2014 Autumn International
21 10 November 2012 Aviva Stadium, Dublin 12 – 16  South Africa 2012 Autumn International
20 6 November 2010 Aviva Stadium, Dublin 21 – 23  South Africa 2010 Autumn International
19 28 November 2009 Croke Park, Dublin 15 – 10  Ireland 2009 Autumn International
18 11 November 2006 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 32 – 15  Ireland 2006 Autumn International
17 13 November 2004 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 17 – 12  Ireland 2004 Autumn International
16 19 June 2004 Newlands, Cape Town 26 – 17  South Africa 2004 Ireland rugby union tour of South Africa
15 12 June 2004 Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein 31 – 17  South Africa
14 19 November 2000 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 18 – 28  South Africa
13 28 November 1998 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 13 – 27  South Africa
12 20 June 1998 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 33 – 0  South Africa 1998 Ireland rugby union tour of South Africa
11 13 June 1998 Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein, South Africa 37 – 13  South Africa
10 6 June 1981 King's Park, Durban 12 – 10  South Africa 1981 Ireland rugby union tour of South Africa
9 30 May 1981 Newlands, Cape Town 23 – 15  South Africa
8 10 January 1970 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 8 – 8   draw 1969–70 South Africa rugby union tour
7 10 April 1965 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 9 – 6  Ireland
6 13 May 1961 Newlands, Cape Town 24 – 8  South Africa 1961 Ireland rugby union tour of South Africa
5 17 December 1960 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 3 – 8  South Africa
4 8 December 1951 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 5 – 17  South Africa
3 19 December 1931 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 3 – 8  South Africa 1931–32 South Africa rugby union tour
2 30 November 1912 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 0 – 38  South Africa 1912–13 South Africa rugby union tour
1 24 November 1906 Balmoral Showgrounds, Belfast 12 – 15 South Africa 1906–07 South Africa rugby union tour


  1. ^ "England 13-19 Ireland".  
  2. ^ "South Africa 31-17 Ireland".  
  3. ^ "South Africa 26-17 Ireland".  
  4. ^ "White makes Irish see red". The Mercury. Retrieved 13 November 2006. 
  5. ^ "O'Gara inspires historic win".  
  6. ^ "Ireland 17-12 South Africa".  
  7. ^ "Match Report: Ireland 32 South Africa 15".  
  8. ^ "Experimental Bok side goes down".  

External links

  • "Pick and Go Test match results database". Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
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