White was obviously determined to use the conditions to full effect in order to stretch the Irish while they in turn tended more towards their pack to make progress. Sniping around the fringes the visitors were met with fierce resistance but whenever they went wide they looked threatening.
To their great credit they ended the game attacking the Springboks line and only last ditch defence kept them at bay. The player who was at the centre of everything positive in that particular department was skipper Brian O'Driscoll. From the moment in the 14th minute when he ghosted clear to set up Shane Horgan's try, O'Driscoll posed a threat almost every single time he gained possession.
Prior to this game, full-back Girvan Dempsey suggested that if the game were finely balanced going into the final quarter, then it could go either way.
How right he was.
After the outstanding Bakkies Botha had scored his side's third try in the 52nd minute for the Boks to go 21-14 ahead, one suspected that the game was approaching the critical stage.
Going into the final quarter, Ronan O'Gara nailed a penalty from the half-way line to leave Ireland trailing byfour (21-17). But by then there was a spring in the step of this rookie Springboks side and they followed with a try from Wannenburg, converted by Gaffe du Toit who also kicked a penalty.
It was probably just as well that du Toit finally found the range because Ireland refused to lie down and only superb defence denied them the last try of the game.
Ireland:Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Gordon D'Arcy Kevin Maggs), Brian O'Driscoll, Geordan Murphy; Ronan O'Gara, Peter Stringer; Anthony Foley, David Wallace (A Quinlan), Simon Easterby; Paul O'Connell, Malcolm O'Kelly; John Hayes, Shane Byrne (Frank Sheahan), Reggie Corrigan (Marcus Horan).Replacements: (not used) Donncha O'Callaghan, Guy Easterby, David Humphreys,
South Africa: Gaffie du Toit;Breyton Paulse, Marius JJoubert, Wayne Julies, Henno Mentz; Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Fourie du Preez; Jacques Cronje, Pedrie Wannenburg, Schalk Burger; Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Eddie Andrews, John Smit (captain), Os du Randt.Replacements: Hanyani Shimange, CJ van der Linde, Quinton Davids, Gerrie Britz, Bolla Conradie, Jacque Fourie, Brent Russell.
Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England) Touch Judges: Joel Jutge (France) and Giulio de Santis (Italy) Television Match Official: Nigel Owens (Wales)