Aphiwe Dyantyi and Makazole Mapimpi added a much-needed spark to the Springboks’ play in Saturday’s 34-21 victory against Argentina, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Durban.
At half-time in this encounter, the small crowd at Kings Park appeared to be growing increasingly exasperated with a Springbok side that had enjoyed 62% of possession and 73% of territory, and yet had very little to show for it.
In fact, despite making 253m to 153, 83 carries to 45, 13 offloads to one and beating 11 defenders to six during the opening stanza, the Boks trailed by four points at the break.
Yet, every time the lighting fast Dyantyi touched the ball, something looked likely to happen. And quite often it did.
For a wing, Dyantyi was remarkably omnipresent throughout proceedings as he chased kicks with fervour, while latching on to one crosskick to score an important try in the 32nd minute.
The talented 23-year-old also showed his class in superbly finishing off a second try soon after the restart, while he unselfishly denied himself a hat-trick in order to set up a try for Mapimpi soon after.
In all, Dyantyi racked up 35m from nine carries and beat three defenders, while he also completed six tackles and won a turnover.
Out on the opposite wing, Mapimpi looked equally at home in an effervescent performance that saw him complete 81m from 11 carries, while executing three clean breaks.
It was a memorable outing for the Sharks flyer in just his second Test start, and which will ease some concerns that did the rounds when S’bu Nkosi suffered a serious injury that is set to rule him out of most of the Rugby Championship.
While the two wings certainly added some much-needed life to the Boks, the return of fit-again Malcolm Marx and Eben Etzebeth also served as a timely boost.
Marx was a typical menace over the ball – with the explosive hooker winning four turnovers – although it has to be noted that there were some clear troubles at lineout time in the first half (three balls were lost).
Meanwhile, in the lead-up to Saturday’s clash, Etzebeth had said he was just itching to get back into action after a lengthy injury lay-off, and he certainly made an impression as a ball-carrier. The powerful lock made 14 carries and completed 55m.
Although these were some of the standout performers for the Boks, it can’t be overlooked that their finishing left a lot to desire at times, while the erratic goal-kicking of Handré Pollard will be of some concern on a windless night (five shots at goal were missed).
All in all, though, the Boks won’t have too many complaints with a bonus-point win.