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Joe Schmidt tells of anguish as Ireland surrenders lead to South Africa

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 20/06/2016

Anguish: Ireland coach Joe Schmidt
Anguish: Ireland coach Joe Schmidt

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has spoken of the "anguish" he felt over his side's defeat to South Africa on Saturday.

Ireland were 19-3 ahead at half-time, and after last weekend's famous win were on the brink of even more history with a series triumph, but South Africa belatedly responded and four second-half tries saw new coach Allister Coetzee to a much needed first victory.

"The players are certainly disappointed," said Schmidt.

"It'll take us a couple of days probably mentally to get over the anguish of surrendering the lead we had and, at the same time, trying to work our way back to being fit enough to train fully and build towards next weekend's Test match."

Having rotated after the first Test win - Ulster's Sean Reidy and the Connacht pair of Tiernan O'Halloran and Quinn Roux were all handed first caps - Schmidt has the option of recalling the likes of Luke Marshall, Ultan Dillane, Keith Earls and Jordi Murphy, as well as the previously suspended CJ Stander, but Robbie Henshaw is ruled out with the knee injury he sustained on Saturday.

Ireland, meanwhile, face Argentina this evening (5.30pm kick-off) in the World Rugby Under-20s Championship semi-finals. After beating Georgia with an under-strength side in their final pool game last Wednesday, Nigel Carolan has made 12 changes including bringing back Ulster pair Jacob Stockdale and Adam McBurney. Last year, despite opening their campaign with a win over today's opponents, they finished seventh.

• The Ireland men's sevens side's bid to qualify for the Olympics came up short this weekend. With one spot up for grabs at the repechage in Monaco, Ireland had a successful first day with wins over Samoa and Tonga. Their luck ran out yesterday when they lost to Spain.

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