Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ 23-12 Rugby Championship win over the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth:
1. Boks again second best on the stats chart
Statistics derived post-game reveal that the Wallabies were on top for most parts.
The visitors enjoyed 60.5% possession and 65% territory, made 352m on attack compared to South Africa’s 282m, made 122 ball carries compared to 74, beat 19 defenders compared to 9, completed 196 passes against 95, won 91 rucks against South Africa’s 52, won more possession off scrums (9-8) and lineouts (12-10) and were also better disciplined in conceding 10 penalties to South Africa’s 13.
As was the case against the All Blacks in Wellington, the Springboks' win was built on a staunch defensive effort - they made 144 tackles compared to Australia’s 74 - and in the end we all know that it’s the final score that matters.
However, the Boks will have to find ways to do more of the playing as they can’t expect to win Test matches with so little possession on a consistent basis.
2. Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium becoming a Bok fortress
Madiba magic may have again played a part in helping the Springboks retain their unbeaten status at this ground.
The Boks are now unbeaten in six Tests at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, although there was one draw against England in 2012.
The stadium, which was built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, replaced the old Boet Erasmus Stadium as the home of EP Rugby and South Africa’s first ever Test there was an 18-5 win over the All Blacks in 2011.
The Boks have a decent record in PE - in fact, since 1960 they have only lost once in 22 Tests played in the city - the 26-9 loss to the British Lions in 1974.
Before 1960, Tests in Port Elizabeth were played at the Crusaders ground, where the Springboks lost three of the 10 Test they played there.
3. Errors aside, Dyantyi a bright prospect...
Aphiwe Dyantyi is proving a real find for the Springboks in 2018.
On Saturday, the live wire winger’s intercept try inside 30 seconds proved vital in the final outcome of the game.
He has now scored six tries in eight Tests and the energetic manner in which he goes about things is welcome to see.
Yes, he makes a few mistakes - he has a penchant for drifting infield on defence - and on Saturday copped a yellow card after becoming a victim of repeated Bok penalty concessions near their own tryline.
But at this stage the positives outweigh the negatives and Dyantyi should score many more tries in the green and gold jersey...
4. Pieter-Steph becoming Boks’ MVP
After an heroic effort in the upset win over the All Blacks earlier this month, Pieter-Steph du Toit produced another monstrous physical effort against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.
Du Toit's official man-of-the-match effort was no surprise after he again topped the Bok tackle count - 19 according to one stats measure.
It’s hard to believe that Du Toit, normally a lock, is actually playing out of position at blindside flank.
He is fast becoming the Boks’ most valuable player and it’s time some of the other more experienced members also put their hands up in this regard...
5. Boks need more ascendancy at scrum time
I felt the Springboks failed to assert their dominance over the Wallabies at scrum time on Saturday.
Yes, they were by no means overshadowed, but one would expect them to get the better of the Wallabies in this regard.
The post-game statistics revealed that both teams were 100% successful on their own put-in, with South Africa winning eight scrums and Australia nine.
Frans Malherbe was stable at best, while the jury is still out on who should start between Tendai Mtawarira and Steven Kitshoff.
In order to beat the All Blacks this weekend, the Boks must look to gain the upper hand in some key departments and the scrum is one area they should look to improve...