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Highlights on Off The Ball


'Ireland definitely rode their luck, but you need that' | Brian O'Driscoll on beating South Africa

Ireland 'got the rub of the green' in the first 10 minutes against South Africa, and will need to continue to ride their luck for the rest of the World Cup.

Ireland 'got the rub of the green' in the first 10 minutes against South Africa, and they will need to continue to ride their luck for the rest of the World Cup, according to Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll.

In what many former players have described as one of the best test matches in recent years, Ireland beat South Africa to all but guarantee them top spot in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup on Satruday.

From minute one, both sides showed why they were number one and two respectively on the World Rankings heading into the match in Saint-Denis.

The physicality that the Springboks brought was met by Ireland, and neither side looked to give a quarter throughout the entire 80 minutes.

While a lot of the talking points following the game came around South Africa's missed kicks, leaving 11 points on the tee, O'Driscoll wanted to highlight the benefit Ireland got in the opening 10 minutes.

In what was always going to be a close game, getting a strong start would have made a world of a difference, as was ensuring discipline was excellent.

"Ireland have very good discipline, so when they do give away penalties, it tends not to be for silly ones very often," O'Driscoll said.

"For the first one, [Peter O'Mahony] probably could have done without, he should have known he was barging in on Faf [de Klerk]. But those are difficult calls, trying to get through without taking the scrum half, but counter-ruck."

Two big moments in the first 10 minutes

However, O'Driscoll did spot some rare moments of Irish ill-discipline in the opening 10 minutes that, if caught on the day, might have had a big impact on the end result of the game.

"If you look at the context of the opening 10 minutes of the game, it could have been totally different," O'Driscoll said. "It's important from the overall picture of how the game unfolded.

"Three points to South Africa, and then actually, looking at the game today, I thought James Lowe was pretty lucky not to find a TMO possibly sending him to the bin for a tackle, but a very unnatural arm position in the tackle.

"If you you look at [Damian] Willemse around the corner, if that goes to hand from Jesse Kriel, and [Kurt-Lee] Arendse outside, two on one with Hugo Keenan. There's a strong chance of a try there.

"It's not guaranteed, so it's not a penalty try. But I think, looking back from a neutral point of view and being objective about it, I would say that is very close to being a yellow card."

With the first incident not being picked up, O'Driscoll praised James Ryan for his 'no backwards step' attitude, however suggested that his actions next might have caused concern if the TMO stepped in.

"[The Lowe incident was] followed immediately by a James Ryan no arm smash on Pieter-Steph du Toit when he knocks the ball on," O'Driscoll said.

"So, we rode our luck a little bit in those opening minutes. Then, James Lowe ripped the ball off Du Toit on the line, great defence, we get a scrum, and the ball comes off Siya Kolisi off a pop from Jesse Kriel.

"So, they score there, it's eight, maybe 10 nil in 10-15 minutes of a game of that magnitude, it just completely settles the South African team, gives them a confidence.

"The mindset around a start like that is huge. So, we definitely rode our luck, but you need that!"

Ireland 'got the rub of the green'

Ireland will top the group if they do what is expected and earn a victory over Scotland in their final pool game next weekend. From there, what will stand in their way of history will be a seething New Zealand side wanting revenge on their tour last year.

According to O'Driscoll, if Ireland are going to get through the All Blacks, past their semi-final opponents and into the driver's seat in a final, they will need to continue to ride their luck when it presents itself.

"Throughout this whole World Cup, we've talked a lot about luck, around injuries, keeping our best players on, the bounce of the ball and referee's decisions," O'Driscoll said.

"We will still need all that stuff, but it definitely felt as though we had the rub of the green in the early parts to stay in that fight and not let them get a head of steam.

"It feel it at the time, but in hindsight it definitely was fortuitous that we got the right calls for our sake. Things could have been different if the referee or the TMO had stepped in."

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