Ireland are on the cusp of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals after a 13-8 victory over defending champions South Africa in a humdinger of a Pool B match at the Stade de France on Saturday.
The win extended Ireland’s record winning run to 16 Tests and brought to an end the Springboks’ run of six in a row.
Ireland centre Bundee Aki said: “I’m lost for words. These Irish fans are incredible. Honestly, I’ve never, ever witnessed anything like it, the travelling crowd, it’s a joke, completely a joke and it’s only going to get bigger and crazier from here on in.”
The clash of the world’s two top teams, who could feasibly meet again in the final on October 28, did not disappoint.
South Africa fly-half Manie Libbok, speaking to ITV, said: “It was one hell of a game. Ireland brought it to us but I am proud of the boys for sticking in there and giving it our all. We were unlucky.”
The Irish top the pool and round off their campaign against Scotland in a fortnight while the Springboks, who are second, play Tonga in their final match next weekend.
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ENGLAND’S HUGE WIN
England captain Owen Farrell said on Saturday he had had fun on his return to action as the 2003 Rugby World Cup winners hammered Chile 71-0 to edge closer to the quarter-finals.
Fly-half Farrell, who returned to action after being suspended for his country’s first two matches of the tournament, moved within a point of Jonny Wilkinson’s England points record.
“It is always enjoyable to pull on an England shirt, but to do it like we did today was good fun,” Farrell said.
“We want to keep on progressing at everything and that is the feeling we are getting from the group.”
England have a two-week break before their final group game against Samoa on October 7 when a win would guarantee their place in the last eight.
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WILD FINISH AS MINNOWS NEARLY CLAIM FIRST WIN
Raffaele Storti scored two tries to help Portugal to a 18-18 draw with Georgia on Saturday, but Nuno Sousa Guedes missed an injury-time penalty that would have handed them a first ever World Cup victory.
The Georgians were unbeaten in their previous 18 Test matches against Portugal coming into the Pool C match at Toulouse, winning their most recent by a margin of 27 points in March.
But Portugal, backed by a baying partisan crowd, were doughty in defence and expansive in attack, Storti grabbing his two opportunities with aplomb.
There was drama to the end when replacement Georgia hooker Tengizi Zamtaradze was driven over to bring the scores level, but Luka Matkava pushed his touchline conversion wide.
Georgia, who lost 35-15 to Australia in their opener, then infringed from the restart, but Guedes pushed his penalty effort wide to leave the scores level.
Source website: www.foxsports.com.au