A Wandisile Simelane hat trick eased South Africa to a comfortable win over Ireland on match-day two of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2018.

Simelane’s three second half tries guided his side to a comeback after tries from Caelan Doris and Michael Silvester had given Ireland the lead at the break.

Ireland suffered a nightmare start as South Africa raced into a 12-0 lead after 20 minutes. Scrum half, Zak Burger charged down Jonny Stewart to break the dead lock after the first minute while prop forward, Asenathi Ntlabakanye showed a good pass to put winger Muller du Plessis into the score zone.

Ireland struggled to hold on to possession for a sustained period of time in those first 20 minutes and knock ons added to their misery.

Stormers’ out half Damian Willemse was picked out in the preview and he controlled most of the play in that opening passage of the game and indeed for the first half. Despite his loss to a serious injury after 47 minutes, South Africa stepped up their performance.

Conor Dean opened Ireland’s score book with a penalty before Irish captain, Caelan Doris, scored Ireland’s first try on 34 minutes into the match when he picked from the base of the scrum and, with the wheel of the scrum, barged over the tackle attempts of Willemse and Tyrone Green. Doris’ try signalled a period of dominant possession for Ireland in the six minutes before the break and ten minutes after it.

South Africa’s PJ Steenkamp was sent to the bin for a team offence after referee Damon Murphy had warned captain, Salmaan Moerat about repeated infringements. Conor Dean took the penalty quickly and found Tom Roche on the right wing. The Lansdowne club player beat his defender but was challenged enough to result in a knock on.

Ireland’s captain mounted an Ireland fightback at the start of the second half. Two successive line breaks resulted in chances for James Hume and Roche but he was third time lucky when Michael Silvester was the support runner to benefit from Doris’ good work. Silvester’s try seven minutes after the restart gave Ireland the lead for the first time.

The game settled down for the next ten minutes until South African replacement, Lubabalo Dobela set up Wandisile Simelane for his first try of the match. Dobela chipped Ireland’s first line of defence and regathered before finding his outside centre who had enough pace to beat the scrambling Irish defenders.

Simelane grabbed his second six minutes later. After a rumbling surge from the pack, Zak Burger hoisted a Garryowen deep into the 22 for the Lions’ player to chase. He beat Jonny Stewart to the ball and dotted down to give South Africa 22-17 lead. Like against France, Ireland had their lead wiped out in a matter of minutes.

The Junior Boks never looked back and they held out for the win and added to their score with a third from Simelane in the last play of the game. Salmaan Moerat and Ruan Nortje gave them the advantage at the lineout in the closing stages while the powerful front row of Nathan McBeth, Dan Jooste and Asenathi Ntlabakanye combined with replacement props Alulutho Tshakweni and Sazi Sandi turned scrum time into a major strength for South Africa.

Commenting after the game, flanker Joe Dunleavy said:

“We talked about a 60 minute performance against France and how we needed to put in an 80 minute performance against South Africa.

“We put in a lot of hard work mid week so it’s very disappointing to lose out like this.

“We need to be more clinical. There were two times where we were in their 22 and came away with nothing so if we can covert those chances then I think we can become a quality side.

“In the last game we had a game plan in place around the maul which worked well and the same today although it was not to be.

“The lads put in a lot of effort midweek to do with our maul and Paul [O’Connell] has really helped us improve in this area and I think that was evident in parts of today and in against France.”

Match gallery attached below

Photo credit – Beth Cregan 2018

6.3 Performance

Caelan Doris led from the front, while out half Conor Dean was positive. Matthew Agnew sealed a few turnovers for his side while Diarmuid Barron was a strong carrier. Sean O'Brien was solid defensively and put in a nuber of big tackles.

  • Jordan Duggan 6
  • Diarmuid Barron 7
  • Jack Aungier 6
  • Cormac Daly 6
  • Jack Dunne 6
  • Joe Dunleavy 6
  • Matthew Agnew 7
  • Caelan Doris 8
  • Jonny Stewart 6
  • Conor Dean 7
  • Sean O'Brien 7
  • James Hume 6
  • Tommy O'Brien 6
  • Tom Roche 6
  • Michael Silvester 7
  • Dan Sheehan 6
  • Bryan O'Connor 6
  • Joe Byrne 6
  • Charlie Ryan 6
  • Aaron Hall 6
  • Hugh O'Sullivan 6
  • Harry Byrne 6
  • James McCarthy 6
  • User Ratings (6 Votes) 7.3