Test Series

Schmidt laments second-half Ireland collapse

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt admitted it would be difficult to lift his players after Saturday's "disappointing" implosion against South Africa.

In a stunning collapse at Ellis Park, Ireland surrendered a 19-3 half-time lead as the Springboks rallied to win 32-26.

After last week's historic maiden Test win in South Africa, Schmidt and Co. appeared set to clinch the series with a game to spare until international debutant Ruan Combrinck sparked the Springboks, helping erase an 11-point deficit with 11 minutes remaining.

Ireland must now prepare for a series decider in Port Elizabeth next week and Schmidt knows he has a tough job on his hands.

"The players are certainly disappointed," Schmidt said.

"They're fairly tired in that changing room. Whenever you get the win and get the result, it's always a lot easier to bounce back even if it's a physically tiring match.

"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."

Schmidt added: "They delivered an onslaught that we didn't quite match up to.

"We missed tackles, we felt a little bit unlucky at times when we weren't able to make tackles. Again, we'll probably have a second look at that and we can send a report through but that's not going to change the result and the result is well and truly earned by the South African ball carriers.

"They really did take it to us and we weren't quite up the task and that's incredibly disappointing after being 26-10 ahead within that last quarter and 19-3 up at half-time.

"We probably just missed a kick just before and after half-time which could have kept our confidence levels up and maybe delivered a little bit more of a blow to the South African team but the way they came back, they were relatively irrepressible."