Irish eyes were watching events in Pretoria

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    09 Oct 2018     Getty Images

The All Blacks face probably the toughest game of their northern tour next month against Ireland in Dublin.

But it is next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan that is also on Irish minds.

Ireland's Independent reported that former Munster coach Rassie Erasmus' claim after the game that South Africa were good enough to win the World Cup next year was of concern.

"Beware the lurking Springboks who are increasingly looking like being able to back up their head coach's ballsy prediction.

"Joe Schmidt [Ireland's coach] will have taken great interest in Saturday's enthralling Test in Pretoria where the All Blacks did an All Blacks in snatching a 32-30 victory with the last kick of the game.

"Should Ireland top their pool in Japan, they are on course to meet the runners up in New Zealand and South Africa's pool, and judging by the evidence in the Rugby Championship over recent weeks, that is likely to be the Boks.

"They will however fancy their chances of causing a major upset by beating the world champions, particularly if they continue to develop as quickly under Erasmus' watch.

"It was always going to take time for the former Munster boss to put his stamp on things and after a slow start, the Boks have found their feet," he said.

Ireland will have a taste of what to expect in Japan next year when facing the All Blacks next month, but they won't face South Africa until a potential World Cup quarter final next year.

"Pushing the All Blacks so close yet again merely underlines how tough that task would be for an Ireland side with great expectations," the Irish Independent said.

Former World Cup-winning England coach Sir Clive Woodward also had a warning ahead of the November Tests in his Daily Mail column.

"Up here in the north we had better start smelling the coffee because much of the rugby in the Championship has been of an entirely different level and intensity to what we are seeing every week in our league.

"England's best players must not start raising their levels again, starting hopefully with the first round of European matches this weekend," he said.

Woodward also took a shot at Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus for his substitutions saying he should have spent Saturday night's post-game apologising to his players.

It was an example of how a 'raw coach can impact disastrously on a game', he said.

"New Zealand can score 20 points in eight minutes, the match is never won until the final whistle," he said.