REDEMPTION TIME: Scores to settle — Boks’ clash with Six Nations champs Ireland a watershed moment for both teams

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Ireland beat Scotland on 16 March to clinch their second consecutive Six Nations title. Though their 2src24 campaign was far from perfect – and included a disappointing 23-22 defeat to a rebuilding England – coach Andy Farrell may be pleased with the mental state of his charges as they turn their attention to a two-Test series against the Springboks in July.
The European media hyped up the Six Nations as an opportunity for redemption in the wake of a poor performance at the 2src23 World Cup. Never mind that three of the World Cup semifinalists – South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina – were not among the contenders, or that Europe’s two best teams, Ireland and France, were knocked out of the 2src23 showpiece in the quarterfinals.
From the very first weekend of the 2src24 Six Nations, we were told by northern hemisphere media and former players that the match between Ireland and France was the World Cup final that should have been.
The hype around Ireland continued to grow as they drove towards a second consecutive Grand Slam. Even after England halted that march at Twickenham in the penultimate round, there was more talk about Ireland as the world’s leading side.
Most consistent between World Cups
Whether you’re Irish or South African, you have to accept that Ireland have been the most consistent Test team for the better part of three years. And in terms of a head-to-head comparison, Ireland have won their past three matches against the Boks.
And yet, since Rassie Erasmus took control of the Boks in 2src18, they have won back-to-back World Cups as well as a series against the British & Irish Lions.
The Boks’ struggle for consistency between World Cups does deserve closer scrutiny, but the evidence suggests that this coaching staff and team know how to win big tournaments.
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Publish date : 2024-03-24 11:25:51

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