Combrinck makes his presence felt

SCORING HIS FIRST TRY: Ruan Combrinck scored his first try minutes after he came on the field from the bench. The bulky Springbok wing earned his first cap as well in the Springboks vs Ireland match at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday, June 18. Photo: Gordon Arons

RUAN Combrinck, who resides on the outskirts of Alberton, made his presence felt the moment he stepped onto the field to gain his first Springbok cap.

The Springboks won the second of three Castle Lager Incoming Series Tests against Ireland on Saturday, June 18, at Emirates Airline Park with a nail-biting 32-26 scoreline.

But it was not until the last quarter of the match that the spectators could feel the vibe of the Springboks pulling through the match. For almost 50 to 60 minutes of the test the Irish did a splendid job by keeping the home side in their quarters and not letting them get the upper hand.

Then head coach Allister Coetzee wrung in the changes from the bench and one could sense that was the difference between the Springboks losing the test series against the Irish for the first time and pulling through the much-needed win.

Ireland led 26-10 with less than 20 minutes to play, then Combrinck came on and with a magnificent run down the line dotted down in the far corner for his first Springbok try on debut, much to the delight of the home crowd and the Springboks.

The Springboks ran in three more tries in the final stretch with Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Damian de Allende each managing a try. This spectacular effort saw the Springboks earn their first win in the series.

Elton Jantjies added 12 points with the boot, through three conversions and two penalty goals.

“We are very satisfied with the win and the way we came back and won it,” said Coetzee.

“Rugby ebbs and flows, but that first half was not good, although we were tactically better than last week. We also looked after the ball, especially in the wide channels. That second half just showed massive character and that was pleasing.”

“The impact from the bench was massive. They turned it around for us. This team is not about 15 players, but rather all 23. Adriaan’s leadership in that time proved crucial and I am pleased in many ways that we are starting to think on the same wave length.

“I am pleased that Ruan Combrinck took his opportunities, as did players such as Julian (Redelinghuys) and Franco (Mostert). Those guys are not Lions players, they are Springboks,” said Coetzee.

The squad travels to Port Elizabeth to start preparations for the third test to be played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, June 25.

Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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