In freezing conditions in front of more than 51 000 fans, the Springboks made a bright start to their international season with a fine 35-17 win against the Wallabies in their Rugby Championship Test at Ellis Park on Saturday night.
The talk of the country this coming week will be debutant Herschel Jantjies, who produced a fabulous Man-of-the-Match display from scrumhalf.
He scored two tries and executed his fundamentals well in a performance that puts him in the pound seats for a World Cup ticket.
However, there were various other heroes too as all the talk of a below-strength side didn’t deter the team the likes of flank Pieter-Steph du Toit and No 8 Francois Louw to lead from the front.
Although the Boks were always going to be a bit underdone having not played together yet, their defence ended on a solid note, the scrums looked steady and ball retention improved after a dodgy first half.
Who was the star in this match?
Herschel Jantjies was a bundle of energy. The intensity he showed proved infectious and his magnificent snip from the blindside for his second try attested to great vision. His distribution was superb as well.
Key moments and themes
- The Springboks shouldn’t really be too proud with their first half effort. Their tries, with Jantjies’ opener from a counterattack that featured great hands from namesake Elton and Andre Esterhuizen a highlight, were from moments of inspiration following turnovers. Overall, they were guilty of exiting poorly, while the lineouts were wobbly.
- The Wallabies will also be kicking themselves for not capitalising on South Africa’s jittery finish to the first half. They troubled the hosts when they applied width and should’ve scored a second try close to half-time when Dane Haylett-Petty, who dotted down for the first, knocked-on with the tryline at his mercy.
- In contrast, the Boks landed a crucial blow just minutes after Esterhuizen was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle. Their inferior numbers mattered little as Jesse Kriel’s poach and Du Toit’s superb break and chip led to Lood de Jager’s try. It gave them a decisive 14-3 lead against the run of play.
- South Africa took control after the turnaround as their ball retention improved and Rassie Erasmus’ substitutions paid off. Lizo Gqoboka’s second scrum led to a vital penalty, Frans Steyn provided momentum in midfield, Vince Koch impressed with his work rate and Jantjies’ replacement, Cobus Reinach, sealed the bonus point with a brilliant individual score of his own.
Springboks – Tries: Herschel Jantjies (2), Lood de Jager, Sbu Nkosi, Cobus Reinach. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5).
Wallabies – Tries: Dane Haylett-Petty, Bernard Foley. Conversions: Foley (2). Penalty: Foley.