Ireland recorded one of their most famous wins ever on Saturday night in Paris. Andy Farrell's side beat the current Rugby World Cup holders, South Africa, 8 - 13 in one of the best games of the tournament.
The win now means that Ireland is almost guaranteed to top their pool, barring a massive collapse in the Scotland game in two weeks.
Ireland came into the game with 15 straight victories behind them, which included a win over the Boks in the Autumn internationals last November. Ireland won that contest 19-16.
The biggest talking point coming into the game was if Ireland could handle the famous Springboks 'bomb squad' in Paris.
Ireland's last defeat in the Stade de France was against France in 2022 in the Six Nations, so rectifying that defeat was key for Farrell and his players before the game.
Here's how the game between Ireland and South Africa went down on Saturday night.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 23, 2023
The opening minutes of the first half started off at a frantic pace. Ireland's line-out was stolen twice within the first three minutes. Ronan Kelleher, the hooker, was not off to the best of starts in Paris.
It would be the World Cup holders that recorded the first score of the tie. Ireland gave an early penalty. South Africa's Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, produced his green light. Manie Libbok took the penalty and made it 3-0.
Ireland were also awarded a number of penalties in the first half. The decision to go for the posts was turned down a number of times. Line-outs were favoured in Paris in the early stages.
Ireland couldn't deal with the South African defence and were unable to produce moments of magic. That was until Hugo Keenan made a great break down the left wing after a great pass from Ringrose. Keenan was stopped just short of the line.
Soon after, South Africa attacked the Ireland tackle line, with Ringrose receiving a knock. The resulting knock meant that Gary Ringrose needed a HIA. He was replaced by Robbie Henshaw.
Irish hearts were in Irish mouths when Ireland captain Johnny Sexton went down with what looked like a shoulder injury after a big tackle from Damien De Allende.
One of Ireland's players of the tournament, Bundee Aki, decided to find space and drive into the Boks' half. He was stopped eventually.
Ireland's line-out struggles started to fade, and it would be from one during the 33rd minute that resulted in a try.
Kelleher found Tadhg Bierne. From there, they went wide, and Lowe whipped it out to Mack Hansen on the overlap to score Ireland's opening try. Sexton converted, which meant Ireland led by four in the tie.
Ringrose, who went off for a HIA, came back onto the field soon after this.
South Africa threatened the Irish line near the end of the first half, but Josh van der Flier had other ideas and won the penalty for Ireland. The half-time whistle followed this action.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 23, 2023
The first half was a half full of penalties, and the second half started off in the same fashion as the first. Springboks' player Eben Etzebeth was caught offside.
Ireland were also guilty of giving away their fair share of penalties of their own. James Ryan got caught isolated in possession, and Jasper Wiese won a jackal penalty.
Boks scrum-half Faf de Klerk had a shot at goal from more than 50 metres. His kick hit the post. South Africa won the rebound and had it in the Irish 22. The good news for Ireland was that James Lowe made a choke tackle to win the ball back.
Soon after this, the 'bomb squad' came on. RG Snyman, Jean Kleyn, Ox Nche, and Kwagga Smith entered the pitch, while Jasper Wiese, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, and Steven Kitshoff left it.
Ireland again gave a penalty, and it was the 'bomb squad' that had a big impact on what happened next. South Africa opted for a scrum on the five-metre line. The Boks decided to go wide to where Cheslin Kolbe was. He managed to go over with no hassle. The score stood at 8-7.
All fly-half Libbok had to do was slot it over to make it 8-10, but the Western Province player missed the pretty straightforward conversion.
Ireland started to make their own changes. Dan Sheehan replaced Kelleher for Ireland, and Ian Henderson replaced Ryan. South Africa's Marco van Staden also replaced Siya Kolisi.
Ireland's first score of the second half came from a scrum penalty. Frans Malherbe collapsed it. Sexton stepped up and made no mistake to make it 8-10.
South Africa would come again and get another penalty, but Libbok again missed his kick. It drifted to the left.
Ireland was giving away too many penalties at this stage, and South Africa could have been out of sight had it been for accuracy.
Replacement Dan Sheehan gave away a penalty for offside. De Klerk had a go from 55 metres but also missed his kick.
Conor Murray replaced Jamison Gibson-Par, while Johnny Sexton was taken off for Jack Crowley.
It was Crowley's attempted drop goal that secured the game for Ireland. His attempt was met by the fingertips of a Bok. Ireland went for a scrum. They won a scrum penalty, which was then converted by Crowley. The score stood at 8-13.
Moments near the end, South African captain Du Toit took the ball cleanly from a line-out, but a mess of Irish players flooded the maul and the Springboks couldn’t present it for Cobus Reinach. As a result referee Ben O'Keefe blew the whistle to send Irish fans and players into raptures in Paris.
Ireland held their nerve to seal a famous victory in Paris against the world champions. It was a game where South Africa could have easily won, but their lack of accuracy from penalties cost them dearly.
Andy Farrell's men will now play Scotland in their final pool game. They are almost certain to avoid the winners of Pool A if they avoid defeat to Scotland. That game takes place on October 7 in the Stade de France in Paris.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) September 23, 2023
Ireland: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Porter, Kelleher, Furlong, Ryan, Beirne, O'Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.
Replacements: Sheehan, Bealham, Kilcoyne, Henderson, Baird, Murray, Crowley, Henshaw.
South Africa: Willemse; Arendse, Kriel, De Allende, Kolbe; Libbok, De Klerk; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Wiese.
Replacements: Fourie, Nche, Nyakane, Kleyn, Snyman, Van Staden, Smith, Reinach.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)