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Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Saturday, 28 November 2009

Brian O'Driscoll lauds Ireland after South Africa win

Highlights - Ireland 15-10 South Africa

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll heaped praise on his team-mates after the Grand Slam holders edged out world champions South Africa 15-10.

O'Driscoll said the Irish needed to produce some "backs-to-the-wall stuff at the end" but he felt that the home side deserved their win at Croke Park.

"They came at us in the first half but Jono (Jonathan Sexton) kicked the goals to keep us in touch," said O'Driscoll.

"I thought we played some great stuff in the second half."

O'Driscoll added: "We possibly could have picked up a try or two in the second half.

Kidney pleased for Ireland players

"Jono kept the scoreboard ticking over, as much as I would have loved him to have given us an eight-point margin," added the Irish skipper, referring to a couple of missed Sexton penalties during the second half.

"It was good the way the boys hung on at the death and didn't give up."

The match threatened to spill over into nastiness on occasions although no yellow cards were handed out by referee Nigel Owens.

"There were plenty of different incidents but that is for others to sort out," added O'Driscoll.

"You always know you are going to get a physical game against them.

"We weren't stepping back. When people come to our patch, you don't want them pushing you around."


The win completes an unbeaten 2009 for Declan Kidney's side and O'Driscoll acknowledged that the team had come "full circle" after a disappointing 2008.

"Our unbeaten run is a credit to all the players, management and everybody involved.

"We're far from the finished article but we're going in the direction we want to go."

Sexton, making only his second Test appearance, slotted five penalties as Ireland clinched their third successive home win against South Africa.

The Leinster fly-half was a surprise selection ahead of Ronan O'Gara but Irish coach Declan Kidney refused to sing the 24-year-old's praises too loudly.

"We might have won by more if Ronan was playing. We said 12 months ago we're trying to develop a squad," said Kidney.

"We see it as a blessing that we have a world-class fly-half and an up and coming fly-half. We'll need both of them.

"We'll enjoy tonight. It was a tough, physical game. The boys were tired but they played very well.

Boks had 'tough season' - De Villiers

Ulster duo Paddy Wallace and Stephen Ferris both sustained ankle injuries in Saturday's win although the full extent of their injuries is not yet clear.

South Africa fly-half Morne Steyn missed three penalties and captain John Smit said his side needed to be more ruthless.

"We created enough pressure in the first half and kept the scoreboard going," said Smit.

"We wanted to do the same thing in the second half. We wanted to create pressure but didn't follow through.

"You have to kick your penalties. They took their chances but we didn't.

"We did a lot of damage in the scrum and that gave us a huge amount of impetus.

"But our line-outs and kicking let us down but ironically those have been our strengths this year."

The match came at the end of an exhausting but successful season for the Springboks and coach Peter de Villiers said his players were tired.

O'Driscoll 'hungry for more'

"We want to honour rugby and do the best we can," he said.

"If we'd picked the second team people would have thought we're looking down on them but maybe we should have rested a few senior players.

"We must regroup and build on what we've achieved this year."

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see also
Ireland 15-10 South Africa
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Autumn internationals photos
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Autumn international rugby as it happened
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O'Gara out as Sexton faces Boks
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Kidney praise for fly-half Sexton
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Kidney rejigs Ireland line-up
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O'Driscoll backs team-mate Sexton
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Sexton to make debut for Ireland
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Ireland 20-20 Australia
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O'Driscoll praises Irish attitude
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Ireland v Australia photos
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Ireland v Australia as it happened
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Kidney has faith in his front row
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Prop Healy wins first Ireland cap
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Hayes ban reduced to five weeks
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England 9-18 Australia
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Horan out of Ireland autumn games
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Henry called into Ireland squad
27 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union

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