What we’ve learned

Five lessons from the matches between the Springboks and the World XV, and the All Blacks and Samoa, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.

Jesse Kriel is something special
The 21-year-old showed why Heyneke Meyer backed him to start for the Boks at outside centre, where he excelled for the Junior Boks last year. In the 17th minute of the match, he received possession inside his half, accelerated, straightened and passed to Damian de Allende, with the attack ending in a try for Eben Etzebeth. Kriel spent 60 minutes on the field, during which time he carried the ball on seven occasions, beat two defenders and completed 10 tackles. He did make two handling errors and concede a penalty, but the good far outweighed the bad, and he deserves to start against the Wallabies in Brisbane.

Damian de Allende must wear the Bok No 12 jersey in the Rugby Championship
The Stormers centre had an outstanding Vodacom Super Rugby campaign, and was just as impressive against the World XV. He signalled his intentions early on when he ran over flyhalf Mike Harris, and went on to score two tries and make more running metres than any other player (152m from 13 carries). De Allende's great strength is that he runs with the ball in both hands, instead of under one arm, which means the defence doesn't know whether he's going to pass early, pass in the tackle or put in a little grubber. In other words, he keeps them guessing. 

The Springboks must improve their discipline
Two yellow cards meant the Boks played 20 minutes of Saturday's match with 14 men. Francois Louw was sin-binned for taking out Jordan Taufua in the air at a lineout, and Willie le Roux for a no-arms tackle on David Roumieu. The Boks conceded the same number of penalties as the World XV (10), but will know that yellow cards will cost them in the Rugby Championship, even though it didn't at Newlands.

Richie McCaw and Dan Carter still have what it takes to succeed at Test level
There was a lot of talk during the recent Super Rugby season about whether the veteran duo were past their best and could make an impact at the 2015 World Cup. They certainly can, if their first Test outing of 2015 is anything to go by. McCaw, playing in his 138th Test, stayed on for the full 80 minutes despite battling with the 29°C heat. The flanker threw his body around as he always does, got through a lot of work and made an excellent steal with five minutes remaining. Carter, too, stayed on the field for the duration of his 103rd Test. Apart from a kick-off that went straight into touch at the start of the second half, the flyhalf looked calm and composed. He was successful with six out of seven shots at goal for a 20-point haul and it was his perfectly weighted cross-kick that resulted in George Moala's try.

Israel Dagg won't start the Rugby Championship at fullback for the All Blacks
With Ben Smith being rested following his efforts in the Super Rugby final, Dagg had a golden opportunity to impress against Samoa and give coach Steve Hansen a selection headache. But he made little impact with ball in hand, failed to collect two kicks in quick succession, and was substituted after 52 minutes. Smith's jersey looks safer than ever.

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Post by

Simon Borchardt