In a snippet from our Bok review in the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine, CRAIG LEWIS identified a couple of the key role players in the team’s World Cup triumph.
It almost seems unfair to try to pick one player. Damian de Allende rediscovered his best form in a superb individual campaign, while Makazole Mapimpi claimed six tries at a World Cup he will never forget. Handre Pollard was another classy contender for this award as he produced a series of mature performances, particularly demonstrating immense composure from the kicking tee. However, it’s impossible to look past superstar Cheslin Kolbe, who was the Boks’ standout performer in both their ‘big’ pool games, against the All Blacks and Italy. He also overcame an injury to produce a memorable display in the final, which included a trademark Kolbe try as he left defenders trailing in his wake. In total, the diminutive wing beat 21 defenders and made 285 metres but also impressed on defence as he recorded an 88% tackle success rate.
Again, it’s almost impossible to single out one player from a pack of forwards who all excelled so consistently. The powerful performances of Beast Mtawarira, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen all stand out, not to mention the impact of the ‘bomb squad’ forward replacements. Yet, this award has to go Bongi Mbonambi, who deservedly earned first rights to the No 2 jersey and came into his own as one of the most impressive all-round hookers on the world rugby stage. Besides missing just a solitary lineout throw, his work rate and effectiveness at the breakdown was highly impressive, not to mention his 100% tackle success rate. Unfortunately, a head knock forced Mbonambi from the field early on in the final, but it could not detract from a dream World Cup campaign.
They Said It
‘I have never seen such support from our people back at home and I honestly don’t think we could have done it without them. The videos they sent of people coming together, it was really beautiful for us to see.’ – Siya Kolisi after the Boks’ World Cup triumph
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