11 Nov 2014

Ireland stun Springboks

11:25 am on 11 November 2014

Ireland have upset South Africa, surging to a 29-15 victory in Dublin to pick up where they left off in this year's Six Nations championship.

Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The hosts were under pressure early but held on for a 6-3 half-time lead thanks to the clinical boot of first five-eighth Jonathan Sexton.

The flanker Rhys Ruddock, who was only called into the starting lineup an hour before kickoff, scored his first international try at the start of the second half before Marcell Coetzee crashed over for the Springboks to make it a three-point game again.

But Sexton was relentless, adding two penalties before Tommy Bowe crossed for a try seven minutes from time to hand South Africa, for whom JP Pietersen grabbed a last-minute consolation score, their first loss to European opposition since defeat in Scotland four years ago.

New Zealander Jared Payne made his debut for Ireland in a rookie centre partnership with 21-year-old Robbie Henshaw.

It was the first time since 1999 that neither Gordon D'Arcy nor the retired Brian O'Driscoll have featured for the Irish.