Joe Schmidt's side cap off a superb day for Irish rugby with a stunning win over South Africa

Ireland win 26-20

Joe Schmidt's side cap off a superb day for Irish rugby with a stunning win over South Africa

Schalk van Zuydam / AP/Press Association Images

Just hours after the U20's made history with a win over New Zealand in the Rugby World Championships, Joe Schmidt's men completed the job with a six point win over South Africa.

For a first test series visit to South Africa in over a decade, Ireland will come away feeling satisfied today. After going it at half-time sharing a 13-13 scoreline, Ireland engaged with a higher gear in the second half.

Ireland looked to be rattled after losing CJ Stander to a red card in the first half. They were also without the services of Robbie Henshaw for a 10 minute spell after the Athlone man was hit with a yellow card for putting in a tackle after a pass was released.

But Ireland's exhibition of resolve in the second half was inspiring.

Conor Murray was first to put some second half scores on the board when he scrambled over the line to edge us in front. There were some doubts as to whether Andrew Trimble's pass was forward but the TMO stepped in to award the try. 

From there, out half Paddy Jackson made some audacious moves to go for his own try. A deceptive sidestep and neat chip into the air gave him a good chance of finishing the move, but he just couldn't win the race to ground the ball.

Aside from some wayward kicking, and an intercepted pass which led to a South Africa try, Jackson put in a solid shift as Johnny Sexton's deputy today. With Ireland holding just a slender three point lead going into the concluding stages, Jackson showed the composure to hit a penalty to extend our lead and ultimately ensure the win.

And the TMO turned out to be Ireland's most reliable ally when they ruled out a last gasp attempt at a try for South Africa to steal the win. The replay clearly shows a bundle of Irish players forcing the play into touch before the ball could be grounded.

Given the long list of casualties afflicting this Irish side ahead of the fixture today, coupled with the fact that they played most of the game with 14 men, Ireland look to have vanquished any of the remaining demons from the Six Nations. 

We're looking forward to the next game on June 18th already.