In an attempt to level the playing fields and assist the Springboks in avoiding an embarrassing home test series loss, the International Rugby Board (IRB) has made an unprecedented decision.
The Springboks suffered a devastating 20 – 26 defeat at the hand of Ireland in the first test at DHL Newlands last Saturday.
This, after the visitors played with 14 men for just less than 60 minutes of the match.
It was new Springbok coach Allister Coetzee’s first match in charge of the Springboks.
“We know Springbok selection is governed by strict quota requirements, so we felt the need to step in and do something to restrict the visiting team too,” said IRB spokesperson Basil Wideball.
Wideball said the IRB had been in discussion with the Irish Rugby Football Union and an amicable agreement had been reached.
Wideball explained, “Ireland will be restricted to 14 men for the first of the second test at Emirate Airlines Park on Saturday.”
Wideball said depending on the score after 40 minutes, Ireland might be forced to remove another player for the second half.
“We don’t have an exact score deficit in mind just yet for the half time decision, but we’ll discuss it with both coaches during the break,” Wideball said.
The Springboks have not lost a test series at home in 19 years and have never lost one to Ireland.
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