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Tour Diary – Match Day In Johannesburg

Tour Diary – Match Day In Johannesburg

So close and yet…we look back at a day that saw a stirring Springbok fightback deny Ireland a second successive test match win on South African soil.

The usual start to the day with breakfast to fuel the players. Then it’s off to a mid-morning walk through in the nearby Sandton Convention Centre.

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News comes in that the Men’s Seven team are off to a good start in the Olympic qualifier with a win over Zimbabwe. Could it be another double day for Irish Rugby?

At Emirates Airline Park, kit man John Moran has the changing room ready – jerseys hung up, balls pumped, bibs ready and a hundred other little things that go into the prep for the team.

At the same time comes more news from Monaco and a superb victory over Samoa for Tom Daly and the Sevens side. They go on to beat Tonga and will meet Spain in the quarter finals.

Emirates Airline Park is a magnificent stadium and the Springboks are rightly proud of their record there in front of a vocal home crowd.

There is still a warm welcome for the Ireland team – a feature of the South African supporters and the public in general on this tour.

At half time Ireland lead 19-3 and while it feels like we are on the verge of history, there are a nervous 40 minutes ahead.

What a second half. The Springboks showed why they are one of the best sides in the world with an impressive comeback that saw them score four tries to take the game 32-26.

Stuart Olding is disappointed but determined to bounce back and work for the team, who have such a strong bond together:


After that it’s back to the team hotel and the hard work keeps coming as the backroom team pack up the kit and equipment for the trip to Port Elizabeth and the final match of Ireland’s summer tour.

One-all in the Test series. Roll on Port Elizabeth.

Tour Diary Week 1: Cape Town

Arrival In Cape Town – A warm welcome and a dip in the sea

Training Day – An intense session against an incredible backdrop

SharkCopter – A day of rest with great white sharks

Team Announcement Day – the team for the first test is announced

Captain’s Run And Coaching Kids – Last run-out in Newlands and a school coaching session

Match Day & History – Ireland beat the Springboks for the first time in South Africa

Travel Day – Farewell Cape Town, Hello Johannesburg

Tour Diary Week 2: Johannesburg

Making A Splash – A pool recovery session and watching the Euros

Altitude & Joost – Training at altitude and a chance to meet a legend and hero

Team Announcement 2 – 10 changes and three new caps for the second Test, and some serious skill from Eoin Reddan

Match Day In Johannesburg – Heartbreak for Ireland as the Springboks level the series