CRAIG LEWIS takes a closer look at the accuracy and execution that led to two of the Springboks’ crucial tries in Saturday’s famous win over the All Blacks.
The Boks’ first victory in New Zealand since 2009 is all the more remarkable when one considers that they enjoyed just 25% of possession and spent very limited time in the opposition 22.
Besides scoring two opportunistic tries, the Springboks manufactured another through a superbly-worked maul. The two other tries – both scored by Aphiwe Dyantyi – were things of beauty. Here we take a look at the textbook buildup play that created these opportunities.
In the first screenshot below, we see how some physicality and powerful phase play laid the foundation for the Boks’ first try. After being fed the ball from the back of a lineout, Malcolm Marx makes solid inroads with a carry that takes play to the 22m line. It’s notable that throughout the subsequent phases, the Boks will always have at least two players cleaning over the ball.
After the ball is quickly recycled, the second image shows Steven Kitshoff making the next carry. This time, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Franco Mostert will clean out at the breakdown.
In the next slide, Damian de Allende is the next to take a crash ball and gets the Boks over the advantage line in the opposition 22. Eben Etzebeth and Warren Whiteley clean out.
The second split-screen then shows the fourth and most influential carry from Siya Kolisi after quick ball is again created for De Klerk. The Bok skipper draws in three defenders with his carry, while Lukhanyo Am, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Frans Malherbe will all clean out at the ruck as De Klerk makes the final, quick recycle.
As Mostert shoots through on a dummy run, De Klerk finds Marx, who shovels the ball on to Willie le Roux in space that has been opened up wide through the phase play that sucked in New Zealand defenders. Le Roux draws one final defender before putting Dyantyi away for his first try.
The Boks’ final try of the match, and one that they will especially savour, sees both forwards and backs combining to great effect. In many ways, it’s an All Black-esque try. It starts with the Springboks recycling possession after an average exit from New Zealand. The ball comes back to RG Snyman, who doesn’t just charge into contact, but rather swivels and plays it out the back to Handré Pollard.
Running from deep, Pollard attacks some space and draws a couple of All Blacks defenders. Take note of Elton Jantjies and Kolisi providing another passing option, while Whiteley roams out wide.
Now the Boks launch into action. Kolisi, Marx and Mostert latch on to one another in picture-perfect protection of the ball, which is quickly laid back for De Klerk, who will pop possession to a flying Snyman.
The replacement lock (who was involved in starting the movement) then makes another key contribution as he keeps the ball alive in contact with a lovely offload to Kitshoff, who moves it on immediately to Jantjies in motion.
Then comes the clincher as Jantjies produces a mini-masterclass of keeping the defenders guessing as he holds the ball in two hands. Just as he draws and commits the attention of three All Blacks players, he floats a perfect pass to Whiteley out wide.
This final image below shows the finishing touches as Whiteley draws and plays Dyantyi, who still has work to do close to the touchline. However, the wing exhibits all his class with a lethal sidestep to beat Beauden Barrett and score the decisive try that carried the Boks to 36 points.
It’s these two tries that aptly illustrate the Springbok evolution that is underway, with their teamwork, support play and multi-phase attack having laid the framework for a historic win.
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images