SARugbymag.co.za looks at the top stats and performances from the Springboks’ Rugby Championship loss to the Wallabies on the Gold Coast this past Sunday.
Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper – who contributed 23 points with the boot – kicked a penalty goal on the stroke of full time to snatch victory for his team, handing the Springboks their first defeat in the 2021 Rugby Championship.
It continued the Boks’ winless run in Australia since 2013 and was the Wallabies’ first win over South Africa since 2018.
As Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber pointed out post-match, the loss owed plenty to the Boks’ poor discipline.
The Boks conceded only 11 penalties to the Wallabies’ 17, but were duly punished for those 11 through Cooper’s infallible kicking performance.
It, of course, did not help that two Springboks – captain Siya Kolisi and fullback Willie le Roux – were yellow-carded in each half, both of them for avoidable errors. Kolisi saw yellow in the first half for a needless tip tackle on Tom Banks, while Le Roux was sent to the sin bin in the second half for a failed attempt at an intercept.
Not only were the Springboks on the wrong end of the referee’s whistle, but they were also unusually leaky in defence.
The Boks missed a total of 21 tackles, a stat which looks even worse when the Wallabies missed only five of their attempts. The Australians were also able to make six clean breaks and carry the ball for a total of 280 metres and also make 129 passes, more than double what the Springboks made.
As former Springbok assistant coach Swys de Bruin pointed out in the post-match analysis, the Wallabies forced the Springboks into defensive errors by attacking them closer to the breakdown, rather than spreading the ball out wide, which would have benefited the rush defence.
The Springboks very much got the first part of their gameplan correct, as they dominated territory through their kicking game.
The issue came with what happened after the ball was won back from a kick, as the Boks failed to fully capitalise on their attacking opportunities.
While they did score three tries, all three of those came from driving mauls, the major attacking weapon in the match.
The visitors also managed to beat only five defenders from a total of 60 carries. Their joint-top carrier was flyhalf Handre Pollard, with a total of six carries, three less than the entire loose trio put together.
Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images