DUBLIN (AP) — Ireland humbled South Africa by a record 38-3, scoring four tries to nil at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
A victory was expected by the Irish but not the margin or as convincingly. In a series which goes back 111 years, the only better score was South Africa's 38-0 win in 1912 on the same ground.
Ireland led 14-0 at halftime, punishing South Africa's weak scrum and ill-discipline. The Springboks were far more game in the second half, but still did not look like scoring a try, and were easily contained by the Irish.
The Springboks, forced into errors, cracked in the last 10 minutes, when the Irish ran in three of their four tries. Man-of-the-match Jonathan Sexton scored 14 points from the boot.
South Africa was rocked in the second minute by an injury to tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, who was coming back from a broken arm. He was holding his left arm as he was carted off after a double tackle from Sexton and new cap Bundee Aki.
The highly rated Wilco Louw replaced Oosthuizen, but the Boks scrum struggled. It conceded penalties, and constantly went backwards. A scrum penalty gave Sexton his first points, and the Springboks were penalized at scrum time twice more before the quarter hour, followed by a referee warning.
Sexton kicked over another penalty in the 15th minute, and the 20th for 9-0.
Ireland had most of the territory and possession. The Springboks were warned to expect being bombed, and conceded the first try from an up-and-under by scrumhalf Conor Murray. It fell between three South Africans outside their 22, and Ireland winger Andrew Conway pinched it and ran 25 meters unopposed to the right corner.
Despite Springboks coach Allister Coetzee talking about the importance of taking three-pointers, they turned down a kickable penalty on the half hour, and wasted a two-minute siege of the Irish try-line. They finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter with an Elton Jantjies penalty.
The Springboks upped their intensity and physicality, but creatively they remained clueless.
In the 71st minute, Ireland substitute flanker Rhys Ruddock burrowed over and made victory certain.
The Irish bench was making more of an impact that the South Africans', and a lineout drive ended with Rob Herring scoring.
Sexton's replacement, Joey Carbury, put a clever kick down the left wing with the clock almost in the red, Darren Sweetman did well to keep it in play, the ball was switched right, and Ireland had the numbers. Left winger Jacob Stockdale scored on debut, and sealed Ireland's fifth win over South Africa in their last seven tests in Dublin.
Ireland face Fiji next Saturday, and South Africa play France on a five-match winless run.