PORT ELIZABETH – Springbok speedster Aphiwe Dyantyi is on Australia's radar ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
Burly Wallaby winger Marika Koroibete has singled out Dyantyi as the Boks' most exciting attacking weapon. Koroibete, himself was a star performance in the corresponding Test last year in Bloemfontein where the Boks and the Wallabies played to a 27-27 draw. He scored two second-half tries in the match.
However, this time it's more likely the full extent of Koroibete's defensive nous will be required, as apart from Dyantyi, the Boks have backline players like Jesse Kriel and Cheslin Kolbe with speed to burn.
Having successfully made the transition from rugby league side Melbourne Storm to the Melbourne Rebels, Koroibete's Bloemfontein blinder validated his class on the world stage. A pair of sublime finishes coupled with some show-stopping defensive plays were enough for coach Michael Cheika to hand him 13 straight Test starts in the year since.
As he returns to the country which put his name up in lights on the world stage, Koroibete feels far more comfortable in the Australian fold. "I was nervous going into that game," Koroibete said. "It was a big arena and they love their rugby here but it was awesome. Coming back this year I feel confident."
Kolbe is tipped to slot into the starting XV with Kriel pushed into the centres but it's Dyantyi who has caught the eye of Koroibete. "He's been impressive," Koroibete said. "This week we are going to work on something to stop him from scoring tries. He's a really exciting player for them."
Stopping Dynantyi and others will only be a piece of the puzzle required to stop the South Africans at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. There will be 46 000 rabid Boks fans willing their side on as they strive to stay in The Rugby Championship hunt. Koroibete feels both he and the team have grown since they last played in South Africa and takes great confidence from his performance here this time last year.
"I played my first start here and since then I have been in the starting XV and playing more with the boys. It's given me confidence, knowing each other's game," he added. "The last couple of weeks have been tough but I'm going to play my best and do my best for the team."
African News Agency (ANA)