J oe Schmidt, the Ireland head coach, had called for a big performance here to "really put the Irish Rugby Football Union in the shop window " when it comes to Wednesday's vote for the right to host the 2023 World Cup. Whether this crushing 38-3 win – Ireland's biggest over South Africa by some considerable margin – makes a blind bit of difference to the outcome of that vote is debatable. World Rugby's evaluation commission has already spoken and it seems unlikely council members will disregard its report, for all the chuntering that has been going on in Ireland. What it did highlight, though, was two teams going in opposite directions. Ireland's 35-point winning margin more than doubled their previous best of 17 over the Springboks, set in a 32-15 victory at Lansdowne Road in 2006. And it set alarm bells ringing for the Springboks who produced one of their worst performances since Allister Coetzee took charge 18 months ago. With Jonathan Sexton pulling the strings like a puppet master, and a happy blend of youth and experience in the team, the hosts were superior in pretty much every department; at the set-piece, at the breakdown, in their kicking game. Certainly… Read full this story
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