CAPE TOWN – There were many marvellous moments between kickoff and the final whistle in the Springboks’ shock 36-34 victory over the All Blacks in Wellington.
The courage and determination the Boks - who certainly weren’t the bookies’ favourites - showed in a monster defensive effort was impressive. The post-siren celebrations that relayed all the elation was huge.
The way every Bok player at the Wellington Regional Stadium on Saturday seemed almost desperate to play his role was great to see. And the fact that it was South Africa’s first positive result in New Zealand since 2009 says enough.
There were many positives, and one of the bests was the performance of wing Aphiwe Dyantyi. With that performance, the Lions flyer showed that he can be a long-time thrill machine for the Boks, and he did so in a match where the pressure was at its highest. His lethal finishing was certainly one of the highlights of the clash.
The way in which Dyantyi ran in his first try - turning on the gas as he rounded the Kiwis’ defence and scored as close to the posts as he possibly could - to finish off a good piece of attack by the Boks, was fantastic.
And the way he stepped back inside Beauden Barrett for his second, leaving the All Black pivot grasping at nothing, was just as superb.
It was also Dyantyi who made the match-winning tackle when he rushed up to take down Damian McKenzie, who knocked the ball on thanks to Dyantyi’s intervention.
With ball in hand, Dyantyi was also responsible for 39 running metres, three clean breaks and four carries.
The 24-year-old had produced promising spells in his six Tests before this, but it’s what he did in New Zealand, in a match that was always going to be crucial for the Boks, that was particularly special.
He showed that SA rugby now has another hot finisher to get excited about. And at only 24, he still has many more years left to thrill. In fact, he has only just begun.
SA has had the pleasure of celebrating one of the rugby world’s greats, Bryan Habana, for many years.
And Aphiwe Dyantyi seems deadset on making sure that we won’t have to wait too long to celebrate another, possibly great international wing.