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Ken Borland


Daring to use ball-in-hand pays off for Springboks

Posted on October 19, 2022 by Ken

The Springboks, daring to use ball-in-hand way more than last weekend, hammered Australia 24-8, with a bonus point in their Rugby Championship match at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday.

Here are four talking points:

Daring to use ball-in-hand

South Africa scored four tries and not one of them came from a rolling maul, and they did not win a single scrum penalty, showing that they can score tries through different ways. The whole mentality of the Springbok team on Saturday seemed to be focused on scoring tries and not merely winning penalties. But by daring to use ball-in-hand way more, they showed, and hopefully proved to themselves, what potential they have as an attacking side.

Nineteen-year-old wing Canan Moodie scored on debut from a brilliant up-and-under win, and excellent kicking did also play a big role in South Africa’s triumph. But Franco Mostert’s exceptional try, rounding off a team build-up, showed the way forward. The Springboks were patient in winning a kicking battle and then, once they were in Australia’s half and set, they swept left and then right, practically the whole team handling before Mostert went over in the right corner.

Hail King Kolisi

South Africa’s captain produced a brilliant effort as he led from the front with a display that showed true Warrior quality. He won three turnovers, his work-rate was superb as he mopped up or provided continuity, he was strong in defence and, perhaps most importantly, he was at the forefront of showing that the Springboks were not going to put up with any of the Wallabies’ niggling nonsense like they did in last weekend’s match. And he did all this with impressive composure, never losing his cool.

Willemse and Hendrikse

South Africa fielded a new and youthful half-back partnership in 22-year-old scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse and 24-year-old flyhalf Damian Willemse. What an exciting future they have together!

Willemse was outstanding as the general in the No.10 jersey – the backline looked more effective thanks to his silky skills, he kicked some lengthy touchfinders as the Springboks convincingly won the territory battle, and he defended his channel stoutly.

Hendrikse was slick in his service from the base and varied his pass or run game nicely, and his box-kicks were on-point, as in when he provided Moodie with the opportunity for his try on debut.

Abundant talent and potential in evidence

The Han of China might be the world’s largest ethnic group, comprising 18% of the global population, but in terms of rugby talent, South Africa is overflowing. They showed on Saturday – when they were not even particularly clinical in taking all their chances – what can be when they get their selection right and back themselves more in playing a varied brand of attacking rugby.

A good start, with Damian de Allende rounding off nine minutes of dominance from the opening whistle, was crucial and showed the importance of having your best players on the field from the start and keeping them on for longer.

The first-choice tight five started and Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth and Mostert, who moved to lock, played the full 80 minutes.

Considering the players on the sidelines though, coach Jacques Nienaber definitely has the raw material to mount a strong defence of the World Cup. It is a matter of getting the mindsets and game-plan right.

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