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Opta Facts: South Africa v Ireland

Opta Facts: South Africa v Ireland

Flanker Josh van der Flier is pictured in possession during the first Test between Ireland and South Africa in Pretoria ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Check out the Opta Facts, provided by Stats Perform, as Ireland get set to close out their summer tour against South Africa in Saturday’s second Test in Durban (kick-off 5pm local time/4pm Irish time – live on Sky Sports Main Event/Action).

– South Africa won last week’s series opener in Pretoria, 27-20, after losing three successive matches against Ireland previously

– South Africa halted what was Ireland’s joint-longest ever winning run against them. Each of the Springboks’ last six wins against Ireland have come by margins of fewer than 10 points

– South Africa have won 12 of their last 13 Test matches (L1), including each of their last six. However, four of those wins have come by single-point margins, and their only loss during that period came against Ireland, at last year’s Rugby World Cup (13-8)

– South Africa have won each of their last five Test matches on home soil, also leading at half-time on each occasion, and have won each of their last four Tests at Saturday’s venue, Hollywoodbets Kings Park, by margins of 13+ points, scoring four or more tries on each occasion

– Ireland have lost two of their last three Test matches (W1), as many losses as in their previous 25 combined (W23). However, hey have not lost back-to-back Tests since suffering two defeats at the start of the 2021 Guinness Men’s Six Nations (against Wales and France)

Andy Farrell will oversee his 50th Test match as Ireland head coach, becoming just the fourth Ireland Men’s head coach to take charge of 50 or more Tests, after Declan Kidney (53), Joe Schmidt (76), and Eddie O’Sullivan (78)

– Farrell has won 39 of his first 49 Tests (L10), with his 79.6% win rate being the highest of any Ireland coach to have taken charge of at least three games

– South Africa have the highest dominant carry rate (42%) and the highest gainline success rate (65%) of any team in tier 1 Test rugby over the last 12 months. As a result, the Springboks have also gained more metres per carry than any other side over that period (4.4)

– South Africa (3.6) and Ireland (3.2) are the only tier 1 Test rugby teams to have averaged 3+ jackal turnovers won per game over the last 12 months, while Ireland have also retained possession from a higher share of their own rucks than any other side over that period (97%)

– Ireland (1.6) and South Africa (1.5) have conceded fewer tries per game than any other sides in tier 1 Test rugby over the last 12 months

– They are also two of just four teams to have averaged 4+ tries scored per game over that period (Ireland – 4.6, South Africa – 4.0), alongside New Zealand (5.3) and Scotland (4.2)

– South Africa’s Kwagga Smith has hit more defensive rucks (12.4) and won more turnovers (2.3) per 80 minutes than any of the other 181 players to have played 400+ minutes of tier 1 Test rugby over the last 12 months

– Ireland duo Bundee Aki (147) and Caelan Doris (140) are two of just five players to have made 140+ carries in tier 1 Test rugby over the last 12 months, while their team-mate, James Lowe, ranks second for metres gained over the same period (792, Monty Ioane – 1049)