A pivotal result in their bid to destabilise New Zealand as the world’s leading rugby power, South Africa’s 38-12 win over Australia this Saturday saw a lot of big players coming to the fore when they needed it most.
The result means that Heyneke Meyer’s side can certainly latch on to some hope of denting the All Blacks’ hopes of winning another Ruby Championship with a perfect slate.
However impressive the Springboks may have been as a unit in breaking a Brisbane drought lasting longer then 40 years, there were those talismanic performances that meant just slightly more than the rest.
In a way, Morne Steyn and Quade Cooper are a near antithesis of one another in terms of playing style.
Cooper, the flamboyant and flashy Australian capable of producing brief flashes of rugby brilliance, up against Morne Steyn, forever the assured, more conservative option, solely concentrating on getting the job done as simply as possible.
This comparison was put to test in Brisbane where inconspicuous security trumped Ewen McKenzie’s No. 10 asset time and again.
Steyn was safe in defence and helped restrict the Wallabies’ back line from spreading the ball outside all too often but gave his greatest contributions unsurprisingly from the tee.
In total, the 29-year-old slotted home seven of his nine attempted kicks, three of which were first-half penalties that allowed South Africa to remain on top of the edgier phases of the fixture.
Jean De Villiers
Though 32 years of age, Jean De Villiers continues to cement his place as one of the best inside centres in world rugby, increasing the potential of all those around him.
The Springbok veteran has already been the omnipresent leader of his nation throughout their Rugby Championship campaign and was again at the heart of all things that went right for the visitors when the game eventually opened up in the second half.
As a result of his solid work drawing in the opposition centres, JJ Engelbrecht, Willle le Roux and Zane Kirchner all benefited from De Villiers’ presence once again, two of those three scoring on the night while De Villiers also crossed over himself.
Alex Brown managed to capture the moment:
As well as that, the back’s defensive input was considerably effective as Adam Ashley-Cooper and co. were extremely restricted in their ball-carrying endeavours.
Although he didn’t start the match, Coenie Oosthuizen was the exact definition of crunch player on Saturday.
Coming on to cover the temporary absence of the injured Jannie du Plessis, the young prop tumbled over for the game’s opening try before trotting off again six minutes later.
Oosthuizen would return to offer a boost to the tiring South African pack later in the second half, but made all of his greatest contributions in that early five-minute cameo.