Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says he was pleased with how his team managed the occasion as the hosts edged out world champions South Africa in an absorbing Test match at the Aviva Stadium.

After an arm-wrestle of an opening half which saw 12 points shared, two early second-half tries from Josh van der Flier and Mack Hansen looked to be number one-ranked side in the world on their way.

Yet Rassie Eramsus' side went down fighting, with Franco Mostert and Kurt-Lee Arendse crossing to make it a nervy finish.

Speaking after the gripping win, Farrell admitted it was a victory hard earned.

"The game was a bit of everything," he told RTÉ Sport. "What a Test match, a proper old-fashioned Test match.

"It’s been something we have been craving to come up against for quite some time.

"We stood up tall, and so did they. They are a hell of a team, but to come out the right side of a victory is super pleasing for us."

Mack Hansen crosses for his try

On the day Conor Murray became a Test centurion, Jimmy O’Brien played his part off the bench on his debut.

Stuart McCloskey, Tadhg Furlong and Murray all succumbed to injuries and for all the chopping and changing, Ireland stuck to their defensive patterns before taking the opportunities that presented themselves.

"How we managed the occasion was the most pleasing thing," Farrell added.

All the pre-match talk of the physical challenge posed by the Springboks, on either side of the ball, and it certainly came to pass. Farrell pinpointed Ireland’s maul defence as a key pillar to the win.

"The confidence that we get on the back of that, through blunting their weapon of theirs, is a massive credit to the players and coaching staff, and the scrum was outstanding today.

"The backs complemented them at the same time."