Cobus Reinach kickstarted the Boks’ Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday, while Jasper Wiese enjoyed his best Test performance to date. CRAIG LEWIS picks and rates some of the top performers.
Considering all the changes that were made to the Springbok side before this game, the end result and domination of Argentina from start to finish is about as good as it gets.
Ultimately, the Pumas had no answer to the Boks’ superb aerial game and suffocating defence, with the hosts comfortably coming away with a 32-12 win.
Below, we rate some of the standout performers:
Cobus Reinach 9
It was Reinach’s excellent work rate that put him in place to pounce on a loose ball before darting away for a superb opening try in this Test. That piece of play was a classic example of what Reinach offers in terms of X factor threat, but his passing and kicking game was also on point. It was his well-weighted box kick – retrieved by Eben Etzebeth – that laid the foundation for the Boks’ second try as well. According to Sanzaar’s stats, he finished the match with 74 run metres, while he also completed six tackles.
Jasper Wiese 9
This was the performance that reminded everyone just why Wiese knocked down the selection door and has become the preferred option at No 8 in the absence of Duane Vermeulen. Wiese was the go-to man when receiving the kick off, and racked up 12 carries, 73 metres and beat seven defenders. The 25-year-old will take great confidence from this Test outing, and it was no surprise to see him named as the official Man of the Match.
Elton Jantjies 7
The flyhalf’s kick-pass to create a try for Aphelele Fassi was a thing of true beauty. It’s the sort of skill that sets Jantjies apart, while generally he looked cool, calm and collected throughout this game. His contestable kicking was largely on the mark, while he also kicked well at goal. Enjoying a rare start at flyhalf, this was a memorable return to form for Jantjies, although he will have been frustrated by one dropped pass in the second half, as well as a blunder when he kicked a penalty into the in-goal area.
Aphelele Fassi 7
Of course the highlight was his stunning finish to juggle and recollect the cross-kick from Jantjies while still maintaining his speed and avoiding the touchline. The decision to allow Fassi to settle into Test rugby on the wing seems to be a masterstroke at this point, and while he worked extremely hard as a kick chaser, he will want to improve some tackling accuracy. All in all, though, the Bok coaches will have been more than pleased with what they saw from Fassi in his second Test.
Joseph Dweba 7
As the only Springbok on Test debut, it’s worth reviewing Dweba’s contribution, and by and large the big man should be pleased with his evening’s work. A ferocious ball carrier who is a tackler’s worst nightmare, Dweba is also a momentum stopper on defence and made one memorable turnover at the breakdown in the first half. Some of his lineout throwing wasn’t as accurate as he would have liked, and undoubtedly the set-piece fundamentals at this level will remain a big focus for the 25-year-old moving forward.