Last week not a single Springbok made our team of the week following their defeat at the hands of the Wallabies in Brisbane. This week, however, there are South Africans sprinkled all over the show after their courageous victory over the All Blacks.
Find out who made the cut for Round 4!
15 Willie le Roux (South Africa)
The Springbok fullback had hand in the Springboks’ first two tries, which gave them the belief that they could actually beat the All Blacks in Wellington. Before that, at 12-0 down, it looked like the New Zealanders were ready to dismantle the Boks. But Le Roux set up Aphiwe Dyantyi, before he pounced on Jordie Barrett’s ill-advised quick throw-in to score himself.
14 Aphiwe Dyantyi (South Africa)
It’s hard to believe that Dyantyi only recently started taking rugby seriously after almost giving up the game. But, in his debut season in top-flight rugby, he has established himself as one of the best finishers in the business. He scored a try in each half with some clinical finishing, but it was his attempted tackle on Damian McKenzie, which knocked the ball loose during the last play of the match, that helped the Boks to get over the line.
13 Reece Hodge (Australia)
Hodge seem to be doing the business for Australia never mind where he is picked to play in the backline. The Australian created two tries for his side with some lovely touches and vision. He also possesses a big boot and is a wonderful asset to have when the Wallabies need to play in the opposition half.
12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (Argentina)
De la Fuante is one of the most underrated players in world rugby at the moment. The inside centre set up Argentina’s first try with a lovely break before offloading to flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez. De La Feunte isn’t as physical as his South African counterpart Damian de Allende, who had a fine match against the All Blacks, but also did a fine job in guarding his channel.
11 Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)
Ioane was the one All Black who managed to trouble the South Africans’ physical defence in Wellington. The powerful wing broke the line a couple of times and scored a top try by managing to stay in field after beating a defenders on the left touchline. The All Blacks just keep on producing quality wingers year after year.
10 Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina)
The Pumas’ playmaker has been in great form in the Rugby Championship. His brilliant all-round game has given Argentina a different dynamic on attack, and they are no longer the one-dimensional side that was always too reliant on their big scrum. Sanchez scored the Pumas’ opening try with some wonderful support play and had another god day with the boot.
9 Faf de Klerk (South Africa)
Aaron Smith is undoubtably the world’s premier scrumhalf, but was probably never legally harassed on a rugby field like he was on Saturday. De Klerk forced his New Zealand counterpart into making a plethora of uncharacteristic mistakes. De Klerk also used his pace off the mark to put pressure on the All Blacks’ first receiver. His service was also crisp.
8 Warren Whiteley (South Africa)
The biggest thing to do when criticised is to play to your strengths. Whitley will never be a big basher up the middle or a player who is going to dominate the gainline like Duane Vermeulen, but what he does bring to the party is a work rate second to none and a great linking ability with his backs. These factors led to 20 tackles completed against the All Blacks, which included a brilliant cover tackle on TJ Perenara to prevent him from scoring, as well as putting Dyantyi away for his second try.
7 Marcos Kremer (Argentina)
Kremer is the workhorse in the Argentina pack and he was all over the park against the Wallabies. Kremer isn’t a classic opensider, but he is tough at the breakdown, while he was also up there in the tackle and carrying stakes for Los Pumas.
John Goliath wonders whether lock or flank is du Toit’s best position and what that could mean for the make up of the Springboks’ forward pack going forward.
6 Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)
The Stormers lock made 24 tackles against the All Blacks … 24! That is insane for a guy who is normally a lock. He led from the front in the physicality stakes, as the Boks managed to dominate the New Zealanders and force them into making mistakes. Du Toit’s tears at the end of the match further emphasised his effort and what the win meant to the Boks.
5 Tomas Lavanini (Argentina)
Lavanini’s match-winning tackle in the final minutes against the Wallabies was probably celebrated long and hard into the night in Argentina. Lavanini brings the hard edge to the Argentina side and did a lot of the grafting, which included 11 tackles. He also carried well and won his fair share of balls in the lineouts.
4 Franco Mostert (South Africa)
Mosert is one of the unsung heroes of the South African pack. He joined Du Toit in making 24 tackles on the night and he hit many rucks. But currently his value to this South African team is his prowess in the lineouts, as the Boks just look like a much more settled unit when he is calling the set piece.
3 Frans Malherbe (South Africa)
There was a lovely moment in the second half when Malherbe was put into a gap by Elton Jantjies. The tighthead couldn’t believe he had so much space in front of him and immediately tried to look for a support player. When he realised there was nobody close to him, he pinned his ears back and made some metres. Beside that piece of brilliance, Malherbe also scrummed well and made an astonishing 11 tackles for a No 3.
John Goliath discusses what the Springboks’ win over the All Blacks means to the team leading up to next year’s World Cup.
2 Cody Taylor (New Zealand)
The All Black hooker was all over the park and contributed many metres for the home side. He was used in the wide channels to try and stretch the Boks and was a constant threat with ball in hand. He also showcased wonderful ball skills. Dane Coles is going to have to fight to get his place back in this team.
1 Steven Kitshoff (South Africa)
“Rooi Gevaar” (Red Danger) is well on his way to becoming the best loosehead prop in the world. He was solid in the scrum against the All Blacks, but it was his tremendous work-rate on defence and cleaning rucks that caught the eye. He also made some vital carries, while his offload in the second half contributed to Dyantyi’s second try.