The Springboks’ dismal use of possession meant they utterly failed to make the most of their one-man advantage against Ireland on Saturday, according to SARugbymag.co.za’s Opta-powered stats.
During a poor opening quarter, the Boks had just 45% of possession and 41% of territory, with Ireland establishing a 10-3 lead. However, when CJ Stander was red-carded in the 22nd minute, and Rob Henshaw shown a yellow card after just half an hour, the Boks should have run away with it.
Although the Springboks did manage to score through Lwazi Mvovo and went into half-time on level terms at 13-13, it had been an otherwise utterly forgettable half from the hosts as they repeatedly failed to make the most of opportunities on attack.
There was more of the same in the second half. Poor decision-making, schoolboy errors and erratic execution meant the Boks simply couldn’t break down Ireland’s defence despite the fact that the visitors were a man short.
By full-time, the possession and territory stats had swung in favour of the Boks, but their ill-discipline (nine penalties were conceded) and handling errors (nine) prevented the home side from utilising the space available on attack.
In the opening match of the season, the Boks looked disorganised on defence and bereft of ideas with ball in hand, and in the end Ireland came away with a shocking, but most deserved win.
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images