South African rugby fans have long called on the Springboks to get their wings more involved in the game.
And it seems as if Rassie Erasmus’ team is doing just that after Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe scored five out of the six tries in the 41-7 Rugby World Cup warm-up win over Japan on Friday.
Kolbe opened the Bok account after eight minutes, and his fellow speedster followed him over the line 15 minutes later.
That touchdown meant that it was the first time in four years that both Springbok wings scored tries in the first half.
The last time that happened was in 2015, when Bryan Habana and Lwazi Mvovo got five-pointers against Argentina, also ahead of the World Cup.
Mapimpi’s hat trick linked him to Bok record try-scorer Habana in two further ways: the Sharks star was the first South African to cross the line on three occasions since Habana against USA at the 2015 World Cup; also, Mapimpi is now on eight tries in eight matches, a strike-rate bettered only by Habana (10 tries) and matched by Stefan Terblanche (8) in the professional era.
Here are some other interesting statistics from Friday’s match at Kumagaya Stadium in Saitama:
- Handré Pollard scored seven points (two conversions, three penalties). He has registered points in each of his 33 Test starts.
- Frans Steyn kicked two conversions. The last time he scored points in a Test match was almost exactly seven years ago, when he scored two penalties against Australia on 8 September 2012.
- Herschel Jantjies scored his fourth try in his fourth appearance. The only players to appear at scrumhalf in each of their first four Tests (professional era) while scoring at least four tries were Lucio Lopez (Argentina) and Andy Gomarsall (England).
- Including Kotaro Matsushima’s try, all seven tries were scored by players born in South Africa, as Matsushima was born in Pretoria.
* Statistics provided by the Rugby World Cup’s Rugby News Service.@ashfakmohamed