Springboks seal series victory in pulsating finish


South Africa came from behind to claim a dramatic 19-13 win over Ireland and seal victory in their three-match Test series in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

The Springboks levelled the series with a 32-26 success in Johannesburg last week and were once again made to work hard by Joe Schmidt's side at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Ireland won the first Test despite having CJ Stander sent off, but it was South African ill-discipline that gave the tourists command of the finale early in the first half, Willie Le Roux sin-binned for taking out Tiernan O'Halloran in the air.

Luke Marshall went over for a try while Le Roux was off the field to help Ireland to a 10-3 lead but Elton Jantjies knocked over a penalty and then produced a stunning kick to JP Pietersen for South Africa's only try to turn the game around.

Ruan Combrinck's long-range penalty and another from Jantjies made it 19-10 but Paddy Jackson kept Ireland in it right until the end, however, the visitors' intense spell of pressure in the closing stages came to nothing as South Africa held on.

Jantjies opened the scoring with a three-pointer in the sixth minute before missing a chance to double the lead from the tee three minutes later.

The game tilted in Ireland's favour after 10 minutes as Le Roux saw yellow following his aerial collision with O'Halloran, the Springboks full-back only avoiding a red card because his Ireland counterpart landed on his shoulders.

Marshall capitalised on Ireland's numerical advantage, powering over a weak Jantjies tackle to cross for his maiden Test try.

Jackson then spurned a relatively easy chance to make it 10-3 but atoned for his miss in the 23rd minute.

But their lead was erased as South Africa finished the half strongly, Jantjies slotting over his second penalty before making his mark with the boot in open play to set up Pietersen.

Jantjies found Pietersen on the left-wing with an expertly placed kick, the winger making a superb catch to race over out wide on the stroke of half-time.

The extras were subsequently added by Jantjies and the hosts carried the momentum into the second 40.

Ireland's forwards struggled to live with the dominant Springbok pack after the restart, with reward finally coming in the form of Combrinck's effort from distance just shy of the hour mark.

A third penalty from Jantjies made it a nine-point gap, only for Jackson to immediately trim it back to six.

Ireland twice had the ball deep in the Springboks half in the closing minutes, but stubborn home defence denied them a maiden series win in South Africa, Allister Coetzee making a successful start to his reign as head coach for the hosts.