"These Lads In Green Have Certainly Got Balls" - A New Look At Ireland's Tour Of South Africa

"These Lads In Green Have Certainly Got Balls" - A New Look At Ireland's Tour Of South Africa

2016 has been a generally flat year for Irish rugby.

Hobbled by a disastrous injury list - almost 2013 like in its scale - Ireland endured a fallow year in the Six Nations. However, it finished well with a monstrous win over Italy and a decent victory over a fast-improving Scotland. They rose to 3rd in the table and there was widespread empathy with the coach's predicament. The verdict might not have been as generous had he not stored all that credit in the bank from the previous two Six Nations.

Perhaps worst of all, the provinces failed dismally in the Champions Cup. The latter stages of the competition were a total non-event in Ireland. This isn't wholly unusual. How many people here remember the 2007 Heineken Cup final between Wasps and Leicester? (And there were a number of Irish players in action that day.)

Even by those standards, the latter stages of European rugby's premier club competition was almost completely ignored in Ireland. Saracens ended up winning the tournament, in case you've forgotten and there's a fair chance you have.

But it hasn't been devoid of bright spots. Connacht lit up the Pro12 competition, delighting neutrals everywhere with a shock success. That competition seemed to have been bequeathed with a new significance too. Cynics might put this down to the Irish province's failure in Europe.

And then there was the tour of South Africa. It may have been overshadowed somewhat by the football team's escapades in France and it might have ended in a 2-1 loss but it was also historic.

Ireland have beaten Australia in an away match before. They won two tests there in 1979. But never had they beaten the Springboks in South Africa.


Despite shipping a red card early in the game, they stunned the home side 26-20. The South Africans had been characteristically cocky and dismissive beforehand too.

Now, there's a documentary coming on the series.

The hour-long programme, ‘What We Did Last Summer’, which will document the tour is set to air on RTÉ One at 10.15pm on Thursday, 10 November.

The documentary aims to capture the highs the lows and emotional reactions from players, management and their families.

Read more: Niall Quinn Was Again The Centre Of Discussion As Liverpool Edged Past Spurs In EFL Cup

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney

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