Fourie du Preez (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following the Springboks’ RWC quarter-final win over Wales at Twickenham.
1. Fourie du Preez’s match winning try
There’s no doubt that Bok skipper Fourie du Preez’s match-winning try in the 75th minute was the biggest talking point from this game.
It was a solid Springbok scrum, with No 8 Duane Vermeulen breaking blind before flicking a clever pass to his scrumhalf who sprinted clear to score in the corner.
While the move may have been practised beforehand, it was brilliantly executed and the instinct displayed by both players to opt for it at the time was simply sublime.
I was baffled by how the Boks would score and will admit it caught me, and luckily the Welsh too, off guard.
No wonder coach Heyneke Meyer said afterwards: "Fourie is a tactical genius. He was always the guy organising the team.
"If you look at all the games South Africa play well, he is always playing. I will always pick him. His desperation to play for the team is amazing.
"He came up with that move (which led to the winning try) and the try was pure genius."
2. Handre Pollard’s goal-kicking
The Bok pivot started off well with his kicks at goal, but missed crucial ones in the second half which put his team under pressure.
It can prove costly in knockout rugby and should be a worry for the Springbok coach.
The Boks can’t afford to squander any opportunities that come their way against the All Blacks.
3. Issues at fullback
Apart from a few sniping breaks, fullback Willie le Roux was the worst Springbok on the park on Saturday.
His tactical kicking is below par and he does not look sound under the high ball. On current form, Le Roux will be exposed against the All Blacks and it may be a wise move to pick the more reliable Pat Lambie at fullback.
Lambie would also add another goal-kicking option in case Pollard miss-fires.
4. Poor exit strategy from Boks
A big area of concern at the weekend was the Springboks’ inability to exit their own 22 following kick-offs.
Just after getting points on the board the Boks would not handle the subsequent restarts well, allowing Wales to hit back almost immediately.
It will prove more costly against the All Blacks and cooler heads are needed in this regard from South Africa.
5. Something lacking with Bok attack
Watching the All Blacks demolish France late on Saturday night I could not help but think that the Springboks simply aren’t as potent on attack.
In fact, their attacking game appears 'light-years' away from the All Blacks when it comes to attacking nous. For me it stems from the way our players are coached in this country and there’s no way the Boks will be able to change it in a week.
They’ll have to find a different way to beat the All Blacks - by taking them on physically and keeping the game slow.
Tactical kicking will be of utmost importance!
- Bonus talking point:
This may not have occurred during the Springbok game, but the refereeing performance of South Africa's Craig Joubert was arguably the biggest talking point of the past weekend's World Cup action.
Joubert was heavily criticised on social media sites after Australia's last-gasp win over Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday.
Joubert's decision to award Australia a match-winning penalty for off-sides in the 79th minute ultimately gave the Wallabies a 35-34 get-out-of-jail card.
Replays suggested that Joubert may have been wrong though.
Scotland may have knocked the ball on, but Wallaby replacement scrumhalf Nick Phibbs then touched the ball before Scotland replacement Jon Welsh played it - and was penalised for doing so.
The decision came minutes after a clear late interference by Australia's Drew Mitchell - for which the wing apologised - which went unpunished despite the largely Scottish 77 110 crowd baying for Joubert to refer to the TMO.
In a third contentious decision, in the 42nd minute of the match, Joubert yellow-carded Scotland wing Sean Maitland for a deliberate foul which was harsh in the extreme.
Joubert, who felt the wrath of French supporters for his handling of the 2011 World Cup final in New Zealand, sprinted from the field after the final whistle, not sticking around to congratulate - nor commiserate - with either team, in a move that smacked of 'I've erred'.