Ireland beat South Africa 26-20 despite CJ Stander red card
|South Africa (13) 20|
|Tries: Mvovo, Du Toit Cons: Jantjies 2 Pens: Lambie, Jantjies|
|Ireland (13) 26|
|Tries: Payne, Murray Cons: Jackson 2 Pens: Jackson 3 Drop Goal: Jackson|
Ireland earned a remarkable first Test win in South Africa despite CJ Stander's 23rd-minute red card.
Jared Payne's try helped Ireland lead 7-0 and they were 10-3 ahead when South Africa-born Stander was sent off for a reckless challenge on Patrick Lambie.
Lwazi Mvovo's score saw the Springboks edge ahead as Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw was also sin-binned.
But Conor Murray's second-half try and eight Paddy Jackson points were enough despite Pieter-Steph du Toit's try.
After an impeccable opening 68 minutes, Jackson's telegraphed pass gifted replacement Du Toit a converted try as the Springboks cut Ireland's lead to 23-20.
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But the Ulster fly-half regrouped to take his points total to 16 with a penalty a minute later and the Irish withstood late pressure to compete their first win in South Africa in eight attempts.
Ireland will have the chance to clinch the three-match series in Johannesburg next Saturday before the final Test in Port Elizabeth a week later.
Irish show stunning resolve after Stander red card
Ireland dominated the Springboks early on and Payne's try, after a clever Luke Marshall grubber kick, helped them into a 10-3 lead.
However, the visitors then had flanker Stander sent off after he tried to charge down a kick from Lambie but missed the ball and jumped into the South African, his hip connecting with the fly-half's chin and knocking him out.
The youngster was left spread-eagled by the tackle and went off on a stretcher before being taken to hospital with concussion, and French referee Mathieu Raynal red-carded Stander - a former South Africa Under-20 captain - after viewing the replay.
When the fleet-footed Mvovo's try helped the Springboks move into a 13-10 lead within eight minutes, there looked likely to be only one winner.
But Ireland were not prepared to accept that script as Jackson's drop-goal levelled the contest before the break.
Murray's try after the restart gave Ireland renewed belief and captain Rory Best was among those who produced a series of vital turnovers as the visitors refused to wilt in the second half.
Jackson proves able replacement for Sexton
Jackson was among six Ulster players to start as he replaced injured Johnny Sexton and, apart from gifting South Africa their late try, went on to produce an assured performance.
His Ulster team-mate Luke Marshall shone on his first Ireland start for two years as his clever kick set up Payne's 11th-minute try while Leinster flanker Jordi Murphy also impressed in Sean O'Brien's continuing absence from the back row.
In contrast, the result was the worst possible start to the reign of new South Africa coach Allister Coetzee as his team produced an error-ridden display.
After concussed Lambie's early departure, the arrival of Elton Jantjies looked to have benefited the Springboks as his superb inside pass set up Mvovo to score.
However, it was one of the few pieces of fluent play served by the home side.
Man of the match - Devin Toner
Toner's brilliant line-out work helped set up Payne's early try and the Leinster lock seemed to be engaged in a competition with his captain Best to earn the most turnovers in the second half.
Jamie Heaslip was among other contenders while impressive scrum-half Murray's try two minutes after half-time was undoubtedly the key score of the contest as he broke through some weak Springboks tackling.
What they said
Ireland captain Rory Best: "We knew to come here and get a victory would be unbelievably tough and require a massive physical performance.
"We dug really deep to get that win. If we had sat back and kept giving them ball we would have eventually run out of steam, so we had to take the game to them.
"There are a lot of tired boys who are running on empty now after the euphoria of the win."
South Africa captain Adriaan Strauss: "We had our chances. Our discipline let us down.
"Every time we had the ball we lost it with unforced errors or gave away a penalty. There were easy mistakes which cost us."
Ireland: J Payne; A Trimble, R Henshaw, L Marshall, K Earls; P Jackson, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross; I Henderson, D Toner; CJ Stander, J Murphy, J Heaslip
Replacements: S Cronin, F Bealham, T Furlong, U Dillane, R Ruddock, K Marmion, I Madigan, C Gilroy
South Africa: W le Roux, JP Pieterse, L Mapoe, D de Allende, L Mvovo; P Lambie, F de Klerk; T Mtawarira, A Strauss, F Malherbe; E Etzebeth, L de Jager; F Louw, S Kolisi, D Vermeulen
Replacements: B Mbonambi, T Nyakane, J Redelinghuys, P du Toit, W Whiteley, R Paige, E Jantjies, J Kriel