Ireland went down to a narrow defeat against South Africa at Dublin's Aviva stadium by 23 points to 21.

Ireland almost snatched victory after substitute out half Ronan O'Gara, winning his 100th cap came on and ignited a furious rally that fell just short.

Behind by 23-9 with just 15 minutes left O'Gara worked a try for Tommy Bowes and made the final pass for a Rob Kearney try in the corner with five minutes to play. However, his conversion attempt hit the post.

Try as they might in the final five minutes, Ireland could not get close to the South Africa lines again and the Springboks ran out worthy winners.

Ireland played before a less than packed stadium after fans soundly rejected efforts to make them buy tickets for two matches in order to view the South Africa one.

Heavy rain which fell throughout also dampened the crowd's enthusiasm.