23 May, 12:21
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
It was South Africa's only dress rehearsal ahead of next week's first test against Ireland in Bloemfontein. It was a display that was good in parts and bad in others.
Wednesday's performance probably would not have been good enough to beat Ireland. It will have given Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan some idea of the weaknesses in South Africa's armoury that the Irish will be looking to exploit.
But there were also some encouraging signs in South Africa's performance, particularly in the second half which indicate that the two-week camp in Bloemfontein is reaping dividends.
When White studies Wednesday's performance and ticks off his checklist, he is going to realise there is still work to do before South Africa will be ready to launch themselves into their first test of the year.
After five years in the test wilderness, fullback Gaffie du Toit has regained his confidence and will have a significant role to play in South Africa's immediate rugby future.
Du Toit, a gifted fullback when given the space and freedom to play his natural game, scored a hat trick of tries and kicked six out of eight conversions for 27 points.
The De Wet Barry-Marius Joubert centre pairing proved how essential combinations are. Once Barry had replaced Wayne Julies at inside centre in the second half, the Bok midfield immediately came alive. This had a good influence on the rest of the backline.
Bolla Conradie showed why playing in fits and starts for the Stormers did little for his game - as it did for Neil de Kock with whom Conradie had to share the scrumhalf berth in the Super 12. Having now been selected in the Springbok team, Conradie was brimming with confidence and back at his best with his sniping runs around the fringes that created a try for Ashwin Willemse.
In similar fashion, Willemse showed that playing for a bottom of the table side like the Cats in the Super 12 does little to enhance one's reputation. South Africa's 2003 player of the year scored two tries, one of them a push-over.
The Bok lineout was magnificent, particularly when the Bulls duo of Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha were on the field. These two not only won their own balls repeatedly, but they also poached several from the Central Unions.
The Bok scrum was also impressive. It was from good right shoulders in this vital primary phase that No 8 Jacques Cronji scored his two tries.
South Africa scored nine tries and conceded only one, an impressive tally against any opposition. Only once in the first half were the Boks able to spread the ball wide, from scrumhalf to wing and it took 32 minutes for the ball to reach Willemse on the right wing.
The Boks have still not overcome their inability to keep possession through multiple phases. This bugbear has plagued the team since the latter part of Nick Mallett's tenure as coach. Flyhalf Jaco van der Westhuyzen's kicking was abysmal. Besides failing to find touch, the flyhalf did not gain any significant ground either.
For 45 minutes the Central Union, essentially a disjointed band hastily assembled only this week, were competitive. The Boks, by contrast, only found their rhythm in the second half when a likely test starting team was present.
Discipline was a problem for South Africa who had four players sin-binned for a variety of offences - Barry, Eddie Andrews, Schalk Burger and Cronji. South Africa cannot lose players in this manner in Bloemfontein next Saturday and still beat Ireland.
Andrews, in particular, a rookie yet to play his first test, needs to curb his recklessness. After being yellow-carded for hands-in, the tighthead prop was repeatedly warned by referee Jonathan Kaplan.
Willemse collapsing in agony with an ankle injury was not a pretty sight. The right wing has emerged as a key player for South Africa and if he is out for any significant period, his absence will hurt.
Dale Granger - Cape Argus.