Stat Attack: Wiese, Fassi show Bok quality looks at the top stats and performances from the Springboks Rugby Championship victory over Argentina this past Saturday.

The Springboks got their Rugby Championship campaign off to a flying start with a bonus-point 32-12 win against Argentina in Gqeberha.

This was despite naming a starting lineup that featured 10 changes from the team that finished the British & Irish Lions series, with the likes of debutant Joseph Dweba, Aphelele Fassi, Damian Willemse and Elton Jantjies all getting starts.


With all the changes that were made to the team, it was expected that the Springboks would have tried to switch things up with their attacking plays.

However, they did largely stick to what worked for them in the Lions series, making far fewer carries than Argentina (75 to the visitor’s 104), but putting boot to ball more often than their opponents (38 to Argentina’s 22).

Most of those were attacking kicks from halfback pair Cobus Reinach and Jantjies, who between them kicked a total of 32 times. It was a tactic that paid off, as evidenced by the Springboks’ first try. In the build-up to the try, lock Eben Etzebeth won the ball from a Reinach box-kick. The ball was then shifted to Jantjies, who produced a cross-field kick to Fassi, who managed to gather the ball and stay infield to score.

It is noticeable that despite being behind to Argentina on almost every attacking metric (including possession, defenders beaten, clean breaks, passes and offloads), the Springboks still managed to play most of the game in Argentina’s territory, which again points to how effective their kicking game was.

That’s not to say that their players didn’t have moments with ball in hand. Jasper Wiese had arguably his most effective Test match to date, making 12 carries for 72 metres and beating seven defenders (the most of any player in the match).

Fassi, despite not having too many opportunities to open the game up, still showed his quality on the wing, beating two defenders and making a clean break, one of only two Bok players to do so.


Of course, the other area of the game in which the Boks were going to be tested was their defence. Argentina had no less than 11 players who started in their win against New Zealand last year, including world-class talent in flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, centre Jeronimo de la Fuente, wing Bautista Delguy, flank Pablo Matera and hooker Julian Motoya.

The Springboks, on the other hand, had a new defence captain in Jesse Kriel, starting his first game since Georgia one month ago and taking over the responsibilities from Lukhanyo Am.

The Bok defence slipped from the standard set during the Lions series as the home side missed 22 of their 116 tackle attempts for a success rate of 81%. But this was far more efficient than Argentina who missed 19 of their 81 attempts for a success rate of just 76%.

The Springboks also managed to win four breakdown turnovers and force their opponents to concede 15 turnovers in total throughout the match.

Top tacklers from the Springboks included Kwagga Smith, who did another superb job of filling in for the injured Pieter-Steph du Toit, with 17 tackle attempts, missing two. No other player made more tackle attempts in the match.

The lock pair of Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth put in other strong shift, making a total of 22 tackles between them. Also starring was debutant Dweba, who completed all six of his tackles and won a turnover before he was replaced early in the second half.

Photo: Gallo Images

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