Due to the COVID-pandemic, the Boks last played in front of fans in South Africa in 2019, and this year just under 300,000 supporters streamed through the gates at the six Tests in South Africa.
For the three Tests against Wales (in Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Cape Town), and the three Castle Lager Rugby Championship encounters on home soil (in Nelspruit, Johannesburg and Durban), 297,298 supporters – or a superb 98.91% of full capacity at the six stadiums – saw the Boks in action in South Africa.
Jacques Nienaber’s team finished the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with four wins from their six matches, their most since 2014 and 2013, when they also finished second behind New Zealand with four wins.
South Africa beat Argentina twice (38-21 and 36-20 for a nett points’ difference of +33), won one against Australia – their first away win in the competition over the Wallabies since 2013 – and lost one Down Under (24-8 and 17-25 for a nett points’ difference of +8), and ended equal with New Zealand on one win and one defeat (26-10 and 23-35 for a nett points’ difference of +4).
Thank you 🇿🇦 : This year, at the six Bok Tests, we had a total of 297,298 fans in attendance - at 98.91% of full capacity of the six stadiums. We nothing without you !!— Rassie Erasmus (@RassieRugby) September 25, 2022
Zoning in on individual performances in the last two months of international rugby, Malcolm Marx’s influence in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship was clear for all to see, with the Springbok hooker dominating in a number of key areas.
Marx scored two tries – the same as his team-mates Damian De Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Kwagga Smith – which placed them joint-third on the list of top try scorers, behind All Blacks hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho with five, as well as flankers Juan Martin Gonzalez of Argentina (4) and Fraser McReight of Australia (3).
But Marx also dominated on the ground, where he topped the list of breakdown turnovers won, with seven. Second on the list was Springbok captain Siya Kolisi with six, followed by Pumas captain Julian Montoya (five).
The All Blacks duo of Ardie Savea and Sam Whitelock, and Argentina’s Pablo Matera, were all on four, while Kwagga Smith and Steven Kitshoff won three each.
Lood de Jager made the most tackles of any Springbok with 62 (he placed fourth overall, behind the Pumas trio of Marcos Kremer (79), Montoya (66) and Gonzalez (66), while Marx and Kolisi came in at joint-ninth with 54 tackles each.
The Boks’ strongest ball carriers were Jasper Wiese (51 carries for 307m won), De Allende (48 carries for 333m) and Marx (40 carries for 222m).
Four players were tied at the top of the list for average metres gained per carry, namely SA’s Mapimpi, Lukhanyo Am, Canan Moodie and New Zealand’s Caleb Clarke, all with an average of 13m, with Clarke’s 540m the most metres gained by any player in 2022, while Mapimpi’s seven clean breaks were the most this season.
The Boks’ starting locks ruled in the air, with De Jager’s 26 lineouts won topping the list, and Etzebeth coming in second with 25.
The top points’ scorers during the competition were Argentina’s Emiliano Boffelli and New Zealand’s Richie Mo'unga, both of whom scored 71 points in their six games, with Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard coming in at third with 32 points in three games.
Stats by Stratus