Andy Farrell hails resilient Ireland after thrilling win over South Africa

Andy Farrell hails resilient Ireland after thrilling win over South Africa

Ireland coach Andy Farrell hailed the mental strength of his players following a nail-biting 13-8 win over World Champions South Africa in the Rugby World Cup on Saturday.

The world's top-ranked team took control of Pool B by edging an epic contest on a raucous Paris evening thanks to Mack Hansen's try plus five points from Johnny Sexton and a late Jack Crowley penalty.

Reigning champions South Africa dominated the second half at Stade de France but Ireland doggedly held on to stretch their winning run to 16 matches and move within touching distance of the knockout stages.

Asked what pleased him most about the performance, head coach Farrell said: "Our resilience, which has been really good of late anyway.

"That was a proper game, a traditional game, it had absolutely everything, there were ebbs and flows, ups and downs and how we stayed on point mentally was fantastic. The game was never going to be perfect.

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"First half, I thought we had the rub of the green as far as field positions is concerned and probably didn't capitalise on that. Certainly it was roles reversed in the second half.

"But we kept our heads. Getting those couple of penalties at the end when it really mattered is the big plus side of our performance."

Cheslin Kolbe's second-half try and a Manie Libbok penalty kept the Springboks in contention before they fell agonisingly short in a tense finale.

Jacques Nienaber's side ultimately paid the price for a series of wayward kicks at goal, with Faf de Klerk missing two penalties and Libbok squandering a further effort, in addition to the conversion attempt after Kolbe's score.

Ireland, who were vocally backed by an estimated 30,000 fans in the French capital, also survived a series of frustrating line-out losses.

"I think as the competition goes on, we'll need to be better because, you know, there's a few inaccuracies," continued Farrell.

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"But there's always going to be that type of thing with games like this, especially with the pressure that South Africa put on you.

"We again were able to find a way and when you say it was an emotional game and how do we bottle that, we've gotten very good at not getting too emotional, making sure that we stay on task.

"So being given a game like that within the pool stage is great for us."

Ireland have a fortnight's break before finishing the group against Scotland and emerged from a bruising encounter relatively unscathed in terms of injuries.

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