Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Boks, Irish primed for spicy Test series: ‘We haven’t beaten them since 2016’

The Boks have not beaten Ireland in their last three matches, including at last year's World Cup.

The Springboks and Ireland are primed and ready for what is expected to be a spicy two Test series between the top two ranked teams on the World Rugby rankings.

With the rise of Ireland over the last few years into one of the powerhouses of world rugby, it has raised the rivalry between the sides to new levels, especially since they have not faced each other many times over the past two World Cup cycles.

Since 2016 the Boks and Irish have only faced each other three times, with Ireland winning all three, in 2017 and 2022 in Dublin, and in the pool stage of last year’s World Cup.

However, the last time Ireland toured South Africa, in 2016, the hosts emerged with a 2-1 series win, but despite that Bok coach Rassie Erasmus knows how tough a challenge they will be.

“If there is one team that certainly has the upper hand, and it shows since 2016 (it’s Ireland). I never want to make us the underdogs and we don’t want to be that, but the stats are there, we haven’t beaten them since 2016,” explained Erasmus.

Spicy interviews

Adding to the build-up to the massive series are a number of interviews that various players have done recently, including Eben Etzebeth and Damian de Allende, where they made mention of the Irish reaction to beating them in the World Cup and how the Irish media have treated the Boks.

Former Ireland fullback Simon Zebo also claimed in a recent interview that Erasmus hated the Irish, but the Bok coach laughed it off and welcomed the extra edge these interviews would bring to the series.

“On the Simon Zebo thing, he messaged me after it happened and anyone who knows him knows he is a joker. He makes a joke every chance he gets, a crack here and there,” said Erasmus.

“He immediately messaged me and said that came out totally wrong, they didn’t understand what I was trying to say. He apologised and said must he go back on air and rectify it? I said no, let’s spice it up, let’s keep it that way.”

The action kicks off next weekend when the Boks and Ireland battle out the first Test at Loftus, before moving down to the coast for the second Test a week later at Kings Park in Durban.

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