South Africa: Flanker Du Toit ready to help Springboks secure series win against Ireland


South Africa Springboks flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit relished the occasion of facing Ireland on home soil for the first time since 2016 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, but acknowledged the areas needing improvement as they head back to the training field.

The Springboks triumphed in the opening Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Series, securing a 27-20 victory.

Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe and a penalty try saw South Africa dominate the game where Handre Pollard scored two conversions and two penalties to add to the win.

The series will conclude with the second Test against their northern hemisphere rivals in Durban on Saturday, 13 July.

The Springboks led 13-8 at halftime and displayed their fighting spirit in a gripping second half, extending their lead to 20-8 by the 64th minute. However, a yellow card to Kurt-Lee Arendse in the 73rd minute made the match a nail-biter.

The Irish scored two tries within four minutes in the closing stages, but a penalty try from a powerful Springbok scrum ensured their victory.

“It’s always tough facing Ireland,” said Du Toit. “They are a good team and facing them is always a good challenge. Fortunately, we had a lot of experience in the team, and I think that helped us a lot.”

This match marked the first encounter between the two sides in South Africa since 2016, which was also the last time the Springboks registered a victory against Ireland. While Du Toit enjoyed the occasion, he emphasized the immediate need to focus on the next week’s match in Durban.

“It was nice to play against them in South Africa, and there was a great vibe within the team and at the stadium, but we now need to turn our focus to next week because our goal is to win both matches against them,” Du Toit added.

“We made a lot of mistakes, and we must correct that going into the next match. We’ll have a good look at this match on Sunday and start working hard again on Monday so we are ready for the next game.”

Du Toit highlighted the breakdowns as a crucial area for improvement. “That battle was big,” he said. “There were times that they had the upper hand in that area, so it’s definitely one of the areas we’ll focus on this week.”

Kurt-Lee Arendse, who scored a top-class try in the second minute, expressed his delight in contributing to the team’s success. “It’s always nice to contribute to the team,” said Arendse. “Tony (Brown – Springbok attack coach) introduced a few things to our attack and it worked.”

Arendse, praised by the media for his decisive tackles, stressed the importance of being effective in both attack and defense.

“My focus is not only on attack, I’ve also been focusing on my defense because you need to make a contribution in both departments if you want to be effective and play well. I don’t think we’ll be selected if we can’t do both,” said the speedster, who has now scored 14 tries in 16 Tests.

The Springboks will depart for Durban on Sunday and will begin their preparations on Monday for the second Test at Hollywoodbets Kings Park. With the goal of winning both matches against Ireland, the team is set to work diligently to address their shortcomings and secure a series victory.

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