DYLAN JACK looks at significant statistics from the Springboks’ 35-17 victory over the Wallabies in their Rugby Championship opener in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Despite the 18-point margin, the Boks were either on par or bested by the Wallabies on attack statistically. The Wallabies made 118 carries to the Springboks’ 104, while beating 26 defenders with the oks managing to beat 15. The Wallabies also made more clean breaks (13), as well as more offloads (9) and total passes (159) than their opponents.
Obviously, the Boks’ shining light on attack was debutant scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, named Man of the Match after a two-try performance at Ellis Park. More impressively, Jantjies made 54m with ball in hand, while also making three linebreaks and beating a defender.
Returning centre Francois Steyn also warrants a mention. The 32-year-old made his first Test appearance since 2017 as a replacement in the 52nd minute, clearly eager to make up for lost time, registering a total of 18m from six carries while he was on the field, while also managing to beat a defender and playing a role in Jantjies’ second try.
Defensively, the two sides were matched in total tackles (112 each) but, worryingly for Rassie Erasmus, the Springboks did miss far more tackles (26) than their opponents (15). Debutant flank Rynhardt Elstadt was in the thick of things and put in a good effort, making seven tackles, but still slipped a total of five attempts, a match high tied with Australian scrumhalf Nic White.
It is an area where the Springboks are going to have to improve in this Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks in Wellington, as the hosts are unlikely to spurn any try-scoring opportunities presented by a slipped tackle.
Positively, the Springboks managed to scramble well on defence as they forced the Australians to concede a total of 19 turnovers, while winning nine of their own.
Key to this was the effort of Francois Louw who made a total of 11 tackles, only missing two, while winning three turnovers, the most of any player in the match. Also impressive was returning lock Lood de Jager, who along with Vodacom Bulls’ teammate Jesse Kriel, topped the tackle count with 14, missing none.
Carries: Springboks 104 Wallabies 118
Defenders beaten: Springboks 15 Wallabies 26
Passes: Springboks 145 Wallabies 159
Offloads: Springboks 5 Wallabies 9
Tackles: Springboks 112 Wallabies 112
Missed tackles: Springboks 26 Wallabies 15
Turnovers won: Springboks 9 Wallabies 3
Turnovers conceded: Springboks 14 Wallabies 19
Photo: Willem Loock/BackpagePix