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Ireland take on South Africa in the opening weekend of the Autumn Internationals, but what’s the history between the two teams? And who is likely to win?
These sides have met 25 times in the past with South Africa having won 18 of them, Ireland 6 and 1 draw. Ireland have won 5 of the last 9 though, and our model suggests this green resurgence will continue, with a 28-17 victory the most likely outcome in Dublin this Saturday.
From their first match in 1906 (a 15-12 win to South Africa in Belfast) Ireland only managed 1 win and 1 draw out of 16 matches to 2004. Since then however, they have turned the tables on the Springboks, and won 5 out of 9 matches, including their first away win during a closely fought 2016 series that was unlucky not to yield more for the men in green. Ireland’s recent victories are backed up by the narrowing of the two teams rankings in recent years, seen below.
Ireland have enjoyed a prosperous past 2 years, notching up victories over all the top ranked teams, including their first ever win over the All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2016. South Africa on the other hand, have had a fairly miserable run of games, winning only 4 games from 13 in 2016 and currently sitting on 5 from 9 in 2017, including ending up on the wrong end of a 57-0 hammering to New Zealand in this years Rugby Championship, their heaviest ever defeat to the All Blacks.
However, with a slight resurgence in the return match at home against the Kiwis in the last match of the Rugby Championship, there might be room for hope for the Springboks. We are confident however, that Ireland will prove too strong for the South Africans and will back our model’s prediction of a comfortable Irish win.