The June Test series between South Africa and France is all done and dusted. With the Springboks convincingly winning the series convincingly with a 3-0 game margin, the outlook on South African rugby is a positive one, and many players made huge statements on the field throughout the three games. We take a look at some of the standout individuals who contributed massively to the Springboks’ start to 2017.
Unassuming yet immensely impactful, Mostert is the pivotal cog in the new Springbok forward pack. The Lions lock was great in the set-pieces, bringing his Super Rugby form the the international stage, as well as showing his tackling and physical prowess. The combination of Mostert and Eben Etzebeth could prove to be the new threatening second-row force in world rugby.
Prior to the Test series, there were a lot of questions over the Springbok fullback position, but Andries Coetzee answered them all excellently. The 27-year-old never looked out of place in a somewhat vulnerable position to the French, handling their high-balls and deep kicks, and returning them with devastating runs and game-changing line breaks. Coetzee played a huge role in most of the Springboks’ counter-attacking tries against France, and will be a likely inclusion in the Rugby Championship squad this year.
There’s no doubt about Elton Jantjies’ abilities, but the Lions playmaker has had underwhelming international appearances since his debut a few years back. However, Jantjies finally came into his own this past series, delivering the creativity, unpredictability and game-management skills we’ve seen for years in Super Rugby to the Springbok environment. Paired with a familiar scrumhalf, Jantjies can thrive in the Test world, bringing a much-needed attacking mindset to a previously passive Springbok attack.
Like Jantjies, Kolisi has never transitioned into Test rugby as effectively as he did into Super Rugby, but the Stormers flank delivered inspired performances against an admittedly physical French side. Kolisi’s breathtaking performance in the second Test was a highlight of the series, and the 26-year-old proved that he is ready for the rigorous demands of Test rugby.
Serfontein’s form in recent seasons has been questioned, with his current Super Rugby campaign even falling somewhat short. That said, Allister Coetzee’s decision to back the Bulls centre was the right one, as Serfontein delivered his best Springbok moments to date, causing chaos for the French defence, linking up with his outside backs excellently and being solid in defence. Serfontein looked at home in the No. 12 jersey, and should have his hands firmly gripped on it for the upcoming exchanges with the All Blacks, Wallabies and Pumas in the Rugby Championship.
Of course, no one can deny Marx’s impact on the series. The young Lions hooker’s ice-cool attitude yet abrasive on-field antics were showcased against the French. Despite the odd mistiming in the third Test, his lineout throws were pinpoint, his scrumming was notably powerful, his turnovers gained excellent momentum for the Springboks, and his ball-carrying can only be described as bulldozer-esque. At only 22-year-old, Marx is a massive weapon in the Springbok arsenal.
Which player do you think made a huge impact this past series? Tweet us @MenStuff and let us know.