Handre Pollard will start against Tonga. If he gets through an hour, he will start at No 10 in the play-offs. The Boks lost against Ireland but Pollard was the biggest winner, writes Mark Keohane.
Ireland beat the world champion Springboks 13-8 in Paris.
Take a bow Ireland. You won.
Ireland got once chance to score a try and they did. They had three kicks at posts and they converted them all.
It is why they are closing in on the world record of most successive wins.
Credit to Ireland for all things good.
Does it mean they win the World Cup for a first time?
For now, Ireland is the No 1 team in the world, and they just beat the No 2 team in the world on neutral ground.
Compliments all-round for Ireland. This was a great result that can never be erased from the record books.
South Africa would be crushed if this was the World Cup final, and they had lost it through missed kicks and a failure to turn two line out mauls into points in the final 10 minutes.
But this was not a World Cup final. It was Pool play and both teams get to go again. Ireland, assuming they beat Scotland, will top the pool and play New Zealand. The Boks will play the hosts France. What beautiful match-ups. North versus South and whoever loses goes home.
In the context of the Boks 13-8 defeat to Ireland, written from a South African perspective, there were many questions answered: The most obvious is we need a goal kicker and that guy is Pollard.
Had Manie Libbok and Faf de Klerk converted their kicks, the Boks would have won at a canter. Scoreboard pressure is a thing of beauty. It is when the Boks are at their most destructive. The forwards do the work, the referee gives them the reward with penalties and the goal kicker converts.
In Paris, the Bok forwards did the work, they got the penalties and their kickers (Libbok and De Klerk) missed.
The result is massively disappointing but it is a pool match. Perspective rules over panic.
The Boks did so much to put themselves in a position to win. They didn’t and, again, applaud Ireland for the victory.
The quality of the Irish is such that they stayed in a contest when most teams would have buckled.
Ireland’s supporters must celebrate the win. It was a fabulous result for the Irish and historic in that it was the first ever on neutral ground and the first ever in a World Cup.
The Boks were not good enough to win and Ireland were too good to lose when a team doesn’t convert kicks into points.
It was a great Test match.
It had World Cup final written all over it.
But it was not the World Cup final, and that is what Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber will be reminding their players.
Four years ago, the Boks lost to the All Blacks in pool play and won the World Cup. The All Blacks never made the final.
For the Boks to win the World Cup, they can’t lose another match. They have been there before.
For Ireland to win the World Cup, they can’t lose a match. They have never been there before.