Five lessons from the past weekend's round of Rugby Championship and Currie Cup action, according to CRAIG LEWIS.
Boks must clean up breakdown act
The Springboks once again displayed plenty of fighting spirit in their 30-23 victory over Argentina on Saturday, but their overall performance still left a lot to be desired. Quite rightly, Allister Coetzee suggested afterwards that they needed to develop a killer instinct and produce a more consistent and accurate performance over the 80 minutes. However, one area where they were repeatedly frustrated was at the breakdown. In typical fashion, Argentina spoiled and slowed down the opposition ball, with the Boks failing to protect possession well enough, while scrumhalf Faf de Klerk had to regularly go digging for the ball. The ability to generate quick ball is undoubtedly going to be key for the Springboks as they head to Salta this Saturday, and both the ball-carriers and cleaners at ruck time need to produce a for more clinical effort at the breakdown if the Boks are to get the go-forward they so desperately need.
Oupa Mohoje can nail down No 7 spot
Some critics questioned whether Mohoje was the right man to slot in at No 7 for the Boks against Argentina. The big loose forward featured as a replacement in just one game for the Springboks last year, while he has also endured a few unfortunate injuries. However, in the absence of unavailable Siya Kolisi, Bok coach Allister Coetzee backed Mohoje to step into the blindside flank breach, and the 26-year-old repaid that faith on Saturday. The Cheetahs star particularly produced a massive defensive effort and was arguably the Boks’ best performer on the day. The Boks are crying out for someone to nail down the No 7 position, and Mohoje now has the opportunity to make that jersey his own during the Rugby Championship.
All Blacks, Barrett in class of their own
Is there any hope of stopping this All Blacks side from cruising to the Rugby Championship title once again? Based on Saturday’s emphatic performance against the Wallabies, it wouldn’t seem so. The world champs humiliated the Wallabies on their home turf, dominating territory and possession on their way to a resounding 42-8 victory. New Zealand made 14 clean breaks to two, beat 38 defenders to 14 and made 754m to 297. Beyond their all-round dominance, Beauden Barrett once again marshalled proceedings superbly from flyhalf as he carried his Super Rugby form over on to the Test stage. The 25-year-old scored a try, had a hand in another two, while contributing a total tally of 17 points. He also made two clean breaks, beat five defenders and gained 95m from 13 carries. By all accounts, there simply seems to be no stopping the All Blacks and their in-form flyhalf.
Wallabies’ defence, discipline let them down
Although the Wallabies came into Saturday’s clash on a four-match losing streak, they were still expected to put up a competitive showing against the All Blacks in Sydney. That proved to be a fallacy as they produced an abject effort against a ruthless New Zealand side. Not only did their set piece malfunction, but they conceded far too many soft turnovers, gave away eight penalties and missed a whopping 38 tackles. Having just 45% of possession and 40% of territory, the Wallabies simply couldn’t contain a rampant All Blacks side, but there is no doubt that they were also their own worst enemies.
Inny Radebe a prodigious young talent
The Currie Cup may be fighting for a place of prominence on the South African rugby landscape, but there is no doubt that it can still serve as a breeding ground for future talent. Young Sharks flyhalf Inny Radebe has long been touted as a prolific talent, having made five Craven Week appearances from U13 level up. The talented 21-year-old displayed some encouraging signs when making his first senior appearance in last weekend’s clash with Griquas, while he backed that up with a Man of the Match performance against Boland. The youngster popped up in all the right places, finished off a well-worked try and constantly added a real spark on attack. He’s surely done enough to retain the No 10 jersey ahead of Garth April for the foreseeable future, and certainly remains a player to watch this domestic season.
Photo: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images