Ireland beat South Africa in statement World Cup win as England romp
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Ireland beat South Africa in statement World Cup win as England romp

Ireland's players celebrate a hard-fought win against South Africa.
Ireland's players celebrate a hard-fought win against South Africa.

PARIS - Ireland moved to the brink of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals by beating reigning champions South Africa 13-8 in a low-scoring but thoroughly absorbing match at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The world's number one ranked team showed they have what it takes to win the World Cup for the first time as they produced a statement victory.

Ireland absorbed near-constant pressure from the physically imposing South Africans and took their chances when they got them, while the Springboks' fly-half Manie Libbok spurned valuable kicking points.

England had earlier routed Chile 71-0 in Lille to all but guarantee their spot in the quarter-finals.

But all eyes were on Paris and the clash of the world's two top teams produced a fascinating contest.

Ireland found the early going tough and Libbok's penalty put South Africa ahead in the first half before Mack Hansen found space on the right wing to collect James Lowe's long pass and touch down to give the Irish the lead.

Cheslin Kolbe found acres of space to score for South Africa but Libbok's kicking woes from earlier in the tournament returned and he failed with the conversion.

Johnny Sexton's penalty put Ireland ahead and in a heart-stopping finish, Ireland's defence was pushed to near breaking point before Jack Crowley slotted home a penalty to send the majority of the crowd into raptures.

"It was a scrappy old game and we couldn't seem to get into any flow and neither could they. To dog it out against a team like that is a testament to us and the management," Sexton said.

Ireland top Pool B and complete their group matches against Scotland in a fortnight while the second-placed Springboks play Tonga in their final group match next weekend.

- England tries galore -

Henry Arundell became just the fourth player to score five tries in a World Cup game as England outclassed Chile.

The 20-year-old's contributions matched the most scored by an England men's player in a Test and helped move the 2003 champions clear at the top of Pool D.

A victory over Samoa on October 7 will secure their spot in the knock-out phase.

"I can't believe it, it's a bit surreal. I finished the game and thought 'how did that happen?'" Arundell said.

"The future can be whatever we want it to be," he added.

England scored at will and captain Owen Farrell, back in action after a four-match suspension, moved to within one point of Jonny Wilkinson's England points-scoring record.

Marcus Smith was one of Steve Borthwick's changes to the team that beat Japan and he too shone, scoring two tries and giving the head coach food for thought.

Chile lost a third straight match, conceding 11 tries, in their first appearance at a World Cup, but captain Martin Sigren said his team were progressing.

"Four years ago we were getting the same result against Canada and the USA. We were losing games against Brazil. We will keep on working, maybe four years later the results will be different," he said.

Portugal came within a missed injury-time penalty of winning a World Cup game for the first time as they had to settle for an 18-18 draw with Georgia in Pool C.

Raffaele Storti scored two tries for the Portuguese in an absorbing contest in Toulouse.

There was drama to the end when replacement Georgia hooker Tengizi Zamtaradze was driven over to level the scores, but Luka Matkava pushed his conversion wide and Nuno Sousa Guedes then missed the kick that would have secured victory for Portugal.

Portugal captain Tomas Appleton said: "We're so happy with the performance itself. We've really built a base for what's coming next, especially next week."

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