What Did We Learn About South Africa During the Autumn Internationals?

The Springboks are undoubtedly one of the finest sides in world rugby union. As the reigning world champions, the Springboks have won the World Cup three times (1995, 2007 and 2019) and the squad is filled with talented players, including big names like Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi. 

Despite having such a strong track record, South Africa delivered a mixed performance during the end of year tests. So, exactly what did we learn about the Boks during the 2022 autumn internationals? We take a closer look below.

Mistakes and missed attempts against Ireland

Facing the top-ranking rugby team in the world posed quite a challenge for the Springboks. While the Boks piled on the pressure, it was Ireland’s solid and confident performance that steered the Irish side to victory. 

The match was tense, with Ireland taking an early lead after scoring two tries just five minutes apart. Franco Mostert and Kurt-Lee Arendse pulled things back, but the team missed two conversions and one penalty, which helped Ireland to secure their win. 

Lost momentum against France

With Manie Libbok’s long awaited international debut, South Africa came back fighting but were unable to secure a victory against Les Bleus. It was a trying game for both teams, with South Africa losing Pieter Steph du Toit and France losing Antoine Dupont due to dangerous tackles.

While France took an early lead, the Boks were ahead at half time, but the tables quickly turned. Two missed kicks in the first seven minutes meant the Boks missed out on crucial points and the team couldn’t compete with France’s strong comeback.

Return of their attacking prowess against Italy

Although a little chaotic, the Boks proved their worth against Italy and won their third match 63-21. This was a historic moment for South Africa, as it was their biggest victory over the Italian side outside of the 2019 World Cup.

Italy was able to break through the holes in the Boks’ defence during the first half, but by the second half, South Africa were in their stride. Despite losing Cheslin Kolbe to injury, the Boks continued to attack and dominated right until the closing seconds.

A fiery performance against England

By their fourth and final match, the Springboks delivered the game that fans were hoping for. The team established a lead early on, helped by several surprising misses from England’s Owen Farrell. 

The Boks attacked throughout the match and on many occasions, bulldozed their way through England’s defence. From De Clerk’s two conversions and three penalties to Paul Willemse’s two drop goals, the Boks delivered a superior performance. 

Looking ahead to the World Cup

To sum up, the Springboks got stronger throughout the autumn internationals. So with the Rugby World Cup around the corner, fans will be hoping that they can learn lessons from their defeats against France and Ireland to win the trophy for a fourth time.

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