In the first of a series looking at our favourite World Cup memories, DYLAN JACK looks back at Springbok centre Lukhanyo Am’s unselfishness in 2019.
My highlight comes from the most recent World Cup final. The match has so much to look back on, from the Boks’ brutal brilliance and midfield mauling to Cheslin Kolbe’s stepping.
However, it is Am’s hand in the Springboks’ first try which I don’t think I will ever forget. For those who may have forgotten: a combination of slick handling down the left-hand touchline and a well-executed chip kick had the ball sitting up nicely for Am, who looked to be in for a try because there were no England defenders in front of him. However, the centre decided to instead pass to Makazole Mapimpi, who had continued to run a decent support line next to him, with the wing going in to dot down near the posts.
At that stage, England were fighting their way back into the contest, with just six points separating the sides, but Mapimpi’s try proved to be a game changer, with Kolbe later putting the nail in England’s coffin by embarrassing their defenders with an incredible solo try.
Am’s assist said as much about his personality as it did about his pure skill. He has never been one to court the headlines, preferring to keep his head down and work incredibly hard. Nine out of 10 players in his position would have had a go at the tryline themselves – and more than likely they would have been successful – but Am is that one special player.
Having the vision and anticipation to see a teammate in a better position is one thing, it is another entirely to trust him to finish when you are in a try-scoring position yourself.
Indeed, the try was something of a metaphor for the Springboks’ mindset going into and during the World Cup. There was an emphasis on what each individual brought to the collective and working for the collective rather than for yourself. It’s a moment that should be shown to anyone wanting to learn the game.
Photo: Getty Images