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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Siya Kolisi led from the front: Five takeaways from the Springboks’ win Down Under

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Durban — The Springboks’ 24-8 defeat of the Wallabies in Sydney on Saturday ended a streak of 11 winless games in Australia.

There was no shortage of drama and intrigue and Mike Greenaway looks at five standout issues from a famous Springbok win.

Mbombela revisited

The last time we saw the Boks start a match with this intensity was when they destroyed the All Blacks at the Mbombela Stadium in round one of the Rugby Championship. Their intensity was not at that level a week later at Ellis Park and it had vanished completely in Adelaide. It is the great mystery that plagues the Boks — they just can’t seem to keep the throttle wide open throughout a season and have to sort out this inconsistency before the Cup next year.

Kolisi led the charge

Siya Kolisi was the South African Player of the Year in 2021 mostly because of his inspirational performances in the second and third Tests against the Lions. I reckon he was even better in this game and the problem is that his performance stands out like it does because he was anonymous the week before. In Sydney he was simply outstanding, even winning turnovers at the breakdown which is not normally part of his game, while a memorable moment was his dive pass from the touchline to keep a movement alive.

Moodie magic

Jake White said during the week that he expects Canan Moodie to play 100 Tests for South Africa and we have now seen why the 19-year-old is so highly rated, and why Jacques Nienaber pulled him into the Boks camp so quickly. Two years ago, Moodie was still at school, now he was beating Marika Koroibete in the air to gather and score on debut. The No 14 jersey has been a touch cursed this year, with Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-lee Arendse currently indisposed, but Moodie has come to the rescue.

Wallabies White-washed

Interestingly, the great Welsh referee Nigel Owens said on Friday that he would have yellow-carded Nic White for his playacting in Adelaide. The resulting sin-binning of Faf de Klerk was hardly the only reason the Boks lost that game but it sure helped fire them up a week later. Lip readers would have blushed at the Bok verbals flying at White… Maybe the Boks should put a picture of the Brumbies scrumhalf up in the change room each game because they have an irritating inability to regularly play at a high intensity.

Let the ball do the work

So dominant were the Boks, in the first half especially, that it was only in the 30th minute that the Australians made it into the Bok 22, yet they only trailed 10-3 at half-time. The reason was the Springbok failure to turn beautiful front-foot ball into points. It beats me why the Bok backs choose to kick the ball when they have as much as a four-on-two overlap. Why not pass the friggin’ ball through the hands and free the wing up for a run-in to the line?

They actually did that just after half-time and enjoyed the sweetest of tries for Franco Mostert. More of that, please!



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