Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 23-all Rugby Championship draw with Australia in Perth.
1. Another draw in Perth!
Saturday’s match was the 84th Test between South African and Australia and only the second draw between the nations.
And guess what, the only other draw was also in Perth - in 2001 - when Bobby Skinstad’s Springboks drew 14-all with John Eales’ Wallabies at the Subiaco Oval.
Overall, the Springboks have won 46 Tests against the Wallabies, lost 36, with two draws.
In the nine Tests played in Perth, the Boks have won three, lost four, with two draws.
2. Bok standouts
Wallaby centre Kurtley Beale was given the official man-of-the-match accolade, but from a South African perspective lock Pieter-Steph du Toit and flank Siya Kolisi stood out.
Du Toit justified his selection in place of rested Franco Mostert with an industrious performance. He put the Wallaby lineout under pressure and was impressive with a number of purposeful forays with ball in hand.
Kolisi started slowly, but was instrumental in the Springboks’ comeback effort with several hard tackles and bullocking runs.
I felt Kolisi was vital in helping the Boks overturn a 20-10 deficit. In the 52nd minute, with the Wallabies on the attack in South African territory, it was his tackle and subsequent rampaging run that got the Boks into Australia's half.
While Jan Serfontein disappointed with his failure to round off being hauled in by flank Michael Hooper, the Boks did gain a subsequent penalty and the momentum had changed.
3. Shaky Bok back trio
The Springboks’ biggest concern ahead of this Saturday’s Test against the All Blacks will be the performance of their back trio.
Fullback Andries Coetzee had too many shaky moments at the back - one kick out on the full, one charge down under pressure and once losing possession in contact.
Courtnall Skosan is becoming a liability under the high ball and again made two glaring errors on Saturday - one which led to Beale’s try.
Raymond Rhule was again tenacious and brave in defence and it’s clear that he has spent time improving this part of his game, but I can’t help but wonder whether he’ll be proven out of his depth in Albany on Saturday.
It’s hard to believe that a player like Ruan Combrinck cannot warrant a spot in the current Springbok set-up.
4. Can we blame Jantjies?
In recent times there have been several pundits criticising those questioning the performances of Bok flyhalf Elton Jantjies.
However, and unfortunately, Jantjies made some glaring errors on Saturday that contributed to the end result.
There’s no doubt that Jantjies has improved immensely as a player on the Test arena in 2017, but he’ll need to eradicate some of the silly basic errors.
Jantjies’ tactical kicking was suspect, while he made four glaring errors in my opinion: he failed to kick one restart 10 metres, he crucially missed a penalty for touch just before half-time which saw Australia gain a penalty to grab the lead at the break, he hooked one relatively easy penalty attempt badly to the right of the uprights and his decision to attempt a drop goal at the death was not the right time.
It’s simple, a repeat of these errors will lead to defeat against the All Blacks...
5. Boks deserve credit for comeback resolve
Yes, they did not win the game, but the Springboks deserve credit for overturning a 20-10 deficit in the second half.
There’s no way the class of 2016 would have avoided defeat trailing by a similar scoreline in the second half and the fighting spirit deserves plaudits.
The Springbok bench also appeared to give them a boost, with prop Steven Kitshoff and loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez proving to be thorns in the side of the Wallabies.
Another welcome sight was the Springboks’ effort in the final quarter of the game which again leads me to believe that this is a fitter bunch from what we’ve witnessed before...