Pienaar praises forward effort
November 10, 2012
Ruan Pienaar was a constant thorn in Ireland's side © PA Photos
South Africa try-scorer Ruan Pienaar praised his side's forward pack for turning the match in their favour as they came back to beat Ireland 16-12 in Dublin.
The home side led 12-3 when Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip was sin-binned early in the second half, and the Springboks took full advantage of his absence. Heaslip was captaining the team for the first time and in the end South Africa won after Pienaar scored for the only try of the match in the 45th minute and fly-half Pat Lambie kicked 11 points.
"I think we had a terrible first half," Pienaar said. "Our kicking game wasn't that great. In the second half our forwards made a huge step up. We got a couple of good drives going, kept the ball and forced them to make errors. I'm very proud of the guys, especially in the second half."
South Africa found themselves in a more dogged match than they had in the recently concluded Rugby Championships and they were not able to spread their play to the wings as much as they woul have liked. Even so Pienaar was well aware of what a win means in a venue where they have struggled at times in recent years.
"It's a hard place to come and play rugby. It's a good Irish team," Pienaar added. "To get just one try is the least of our concerns."
Heaslip meanwhile held his hands up after South Africa took advantage of their numeric superiority to run in 10 points and turn the match in their favour. Ireland were unable to retake control and failed to score a point after half-time.
"We came out in the second half and as captain I should lead by example, but being yellow-carded wasn't a good example," Heaslip said. "I put my hand up straight away when we came in afterwards. I'm a better servant on the field than off it. We were a little bit frustrated we weren't further ahead at half-time.
"They were quite clever about how they played the game when they had the ball. I don't know how many opportunities we had. But we were still very confident and focused on what we had to do. We knew they'd have a purple patch, but felt we could keep our momentum."
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