Stat attack: Bok defence, set piece at heart of series win looks at the top stats and performances from the Springboks’ series-clinching victory over the British & Irish Lions this past Saturday.

The Springboks produced yet another second-half comeback to claim a 19-16 victory over the Lions in the third and final Test of the series.

Jacques Nienaber’s team was once again on the back foot for most of the first half, with the Lions enjoying a plethora of attacking opportunities. However, after Cheslin Kolbe’s second-half try, Morne Steyn came off the bench and nailed his two penalty attempts to help the Boks claim the series.


The Boks’ victory was partly laid in their defence. Crucially, despite rarely seeing the ball in the first half, the Springboks limited the Lions to just a four-point lead at the break, conceding just the one try from a driving maul.

In total, the Springboks made 159 tackles and missed 28 of their 187 attempts, for a success rate of 85%.

Making his first start in the series, Lood de Jager finished as the team’s top tackler with 15 to his name, according to stats from the Ultimate Rugby app. De Jager was also among the three Springbok players to make two dominant tackles in the match.

Franco Mostert filled in effectively for the injured Pieter-Steph du Toit at blindside flank, making 13 tackles and two dominant tackles. Kwagga Smith illustrated the superb impact of the Bok Bomb Squad by completing 12 tackles during his time on the field in the second half.

Of course, there was also the excellent breakdown work from the likes captain Siya Kolisi and inside centre Damian de Allende. Both players won a turnover during the match, while they both hit eight defensive rucks and made one dominant tackle each.


The other key element in the Springboks’ series win was the excellent work of their pack – more specifically the tight-five forwards – at the set piece.

The decision to stick with three lineout jumpers in De Jager, Mostert and Eben Etzebeth in the starting lineup paid dividends, illustrated by winning four lineouts between them, while Etzebeth managed a crucial lineout steal under pressure near the Boks’ tryline.

While the scrum battle was not necessarily dominated by either side, with both the Lions and Springboks earning penalties in this department, Bomb Squad props Trevor Nyakane and Vincent Koch made a vital impact when they came off the bench.

During their 19 minutes together as a duo, Nyakane and Koch made a combined 10 tackles, missing none of their attempts, while they also won two penalties. The first of those was when the Springboks faced a pressure five-metre scrum, while the second came in the last play of the match, which allowed Morne Steyn to hoof the ball into touch to end the game.

Photo: EJ Langner/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack