Sport / Rugby

Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
7 Nov 2021
6:14 pm

Confidence in Bok game plan paid off, says Bongi Mbonambi

Ross Roche

South Africa's front row of Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche and Trevor Nyakane put in a big shift against Wales.

Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi celebrates with teammates after their victory over Wales. Picture: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Despite a difference in playing styles, the Springboks had no trouble in grinding down a tough Wales outfit to claim their first win in their last five meetings at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff over the weekend.

Though they produced a dominant forward performance in the scrums, the Bok maul just could not get going at first, but it did seem Wales were using illegal tactics in the first half, engaging at the lineout before the jumper managed to land.

However, once that was addressed in the second half, the Bok maul started rolling and led to the only try of the game for replacement hooker Malcolm Marx.

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“There is a massive difference in the styles that we obviously play. We got a bit of a taste of it during the British and Irish Lions series (earlier this year) and we knew Wales was going to sort of stick to the same plan with a high kicking game,” said Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

“Our back three did very well. We knew it was going to be a tough game, especially up front. They have a very good and tough pack to break down, and it took us almost 80 minutes to get over the line with our forward pack.

“But as I said, there is a massive difference between the playing styles, and the team handled it well, especially the experienced guys like Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn. They kept us cool and kept us in the game.”

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Despite having only one scrum in the first half, the Bok front row of Mbonambi, Ox Nche and Trevor Nyakane put in a big shift with mauls at the lineouts and managed to get in a couple of good scrums in the second half before they were replaced by Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Kock.

“We knew it was going to be tough from the get go. We knew that we had to put them under the pump and I must say the bomb squad came on and made a big difference,” admitted Mbonambi.

“But we knew that starting, myself, Ox and Trevor, we had to put them under pressure with our scrums and mauling, so that was the plan and you saw in the end it definitely paid off.”