0 Poor crowds compound Ireland's loss

Ireland rugby officials were left counting the cost of a 23-21 defeat by South Africa in more ways than one after the fixture failed to produce the usual sell-out crowd in Dublin.

A match against the world champions at the start of a World Cup season ought to have been a sure-fire guarantee of a full house, especially as Saturday's match was Ireland's first at their traditional Lansdowne Road home since the ground's stunning redevelopment at a coast of 410 million euros ($A575 million).

But instead only 35,517 spectators turned up for the showpiece occasion, leaving some 15,000 tickets unsold.

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