Josh van der Flier and Johnny Sexton, who helped Leinster Rugby to last season’s Heineken Champions Cup final, were among the points as Ireland beat world champions South Africa 19-16 in the Autumn Nations Series on Saturday.
2022 EPCR European Player of the Year Van der Flier scored a second-half try, while Sexton kicked three penalties at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, the venue for this season’s EPCR finals.
South Africa went close to a late comeback, with Kurt-Lee Arendse, who is set to debut in the Heineken Champions Cup with Vodacom Bulls this campaign, crossing to move the visitors to within three points, but Ireland held on for a momentous victory.
Later, a superb last-gasp try from ASM Clermont Auvergne wing Damian Penaud saw France clinch a thrilling 30-29 win over Australia at the Stade de France in Paris.
Stade Toulousain hooker Julien Marchand had earlier dotted down for the home side, while clubmate Thomas Ramos racked up 20 points from the tee.
Earlier, Gloucester Rugby fly-half Adam Hastings, Edinburgh Rugby wing Duhan van der Merwe and London Irish scrum-half Ben White all scored tries as Scotland beat Fiji 28-12 at BT Murrayfield.
Meanwhile, Wales went down 55-23 to New Zealand at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, with Justin Tipuric going over while Ospreys clubmate Gareth Anscombe tallied 13 points.