Stat attack: Kolbe, Am make presence felt looks at the top stats and performances from South Africa A’s victory over the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday.

South Africa A, coached by Rassie Erasmus and captained by Lukhanyo Am, held on to claim a 17-13 victory after leading 17-3 at half-time in Cape Town.

The team, featuring several World Cup-winning Springboks, including Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Willie le Roux, were quickest out of the blocks in the first half, but had to defend for long periods of the second half as the Lions worked their way back into the match.


Kolbe certainly made his impact felt on his return as he was South Africa’s standout player on attack in a man-of-the-match performance.

According to stats from the Ultimate Rugby app, of the South Africa A players, Kolbe made the second-most carries (8) and metres (50), while he made the joint-most clean breaks and beat the most defenders (2).

Kolbe also picked up a try assist when he produced one of his trademark sidesteps to leave Chris Harris and Louis Rees-Zammit grasping at thin air, before passing on his inside to Am.

Apart from scoring the try, Am put in a proper captain’s shift, making 27 metres with ball-in-hand, one clean and and beating a defender. His centre partner, Damian de Allende, played an excellent blocking role in Sbu Nkosi’s breakaway try, while he also was effective when asked to carry from first phase, with a total of 24 metres made.

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In the pack, Jasper Wiese and Franco Mostert were productive throughout the match. Wiese made the most carries of any South Africa player (9) and hit 14 attacking rucks, while Mostert was once again hard at work, hitting 21 attack rucks and making five carries.


The Springbok players in the South Africa A team were put through their paces on defence in this game, as the Lions grew into the match and forced South Africa onto the back foot in the second half.

Notably, South Africa had to spend the final six minutes of the first half defending on their own tryline, losing Faf de Klerk and Marco van Staden to yellow cards in the process, but managed to hold out without conceding a try until the second half.

Even when playing with 13 men, South Africa managed to cover the field and scramble very when the Lions broke the line and threatened to score.

However, a team total of 27 missed tackles will be a concern for Jacques Nienaber, as will the fact that the Lions managed to evade and get around South Africa’s rush defence when they were back to their full complement.

Defence is where Am came into his own as a captain, as he made a couple of key defensive reads when the South Africa were on the back foot. This included gathering Owen Farrell’s crossfield kick, under pressure on the South Africa with two Lions players looking to take the ball and score.

In total, Am made nine tackles, missing two and also got through plenty of hard work, hitting 13 rucks.

The lock pairing of Mostert and Eben Etzbeth also made their presence felt here, with both players contributing a joint-top 17 tackles. Mostert hit a total of 32 rucks, 11 of those defensive and won two turnovers. Etzebeth charged down Owen Farrell’s attempted kick in the build-up to Nkosi’s try.

Another player who was busy on defence was Marco van Staden. Despite his yellow card, the loose forward was still a key contributor with 17 tackles, missing one, and one turnover in 70 minutes.

A mention should also be made for starting Joseph Dweba. Even though he was substituted in the 39th minute, he emptied the tank with nine tackles, one of those a dominant hit, and 10 ruck attendances.

Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

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Dylan Jack