Backs officially obsolete in South Africa after Bulls’ 350kg front row’s 60m try
Every back in South African rugby this week will be sweating over their future, wondering whether they will be needed next season, and it is all because of the Bulls’ front row.
It has long been accepted that any pack hailing from South Africa is going to dominate the game through a tedious string of mauls and scrums, but the front row triumvirate of Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar and Mornay Smith changed the game on Saturday at Ellis Park.
Up against Zebre in the United Rugby Championship, the trio combined to score a try that any back three would be proud of.
It all started with 117kg tighthead Smith making what looked to be a regulation carry on his own 40 metre line off a ruck. However, after two Zebre defenders committed to tackling the tighthead, he popped the ball to his 103kg hooker Grobbelaar, who had a half gap to run into. Grobbelaar was able to escape the clutches of opposing loosehead Paolo Buonfiglio, and he was away.
Suddenly the hooker had 50 metres of space to run into before meeting fullback Jacopo Trulla on the 22. Fortunately, Steenekamp had managed the lug his 126kg frame to offer the perfect support line, and was put in for an unopposed try from 20 metres out.
It sounds utterly ridiculous, but it may have just shaken the entire foundations of rugby. The only saving grace for backs in South Africa is that this came in a 78-12 victory, meaning the front row might not be able to waltz through defences that are less porous that Zebre’s.
Take a look at the try:
Vodacom Bulls: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, Stedman Gans, Harold Vorster, David Kriel, Johan Goosen, Embrose Papier, Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar, Mornay Smith, Ruan Vermaak, Ruan Nortje (CAPT), Marco van Staden, Cyle Brink, Elrigh Louw
Replacements: Bismarck du Plessis, Dylan Smith, Francois Klopper, Janko Swanepoel, WJ Steenkamp, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith, Cornal Hendricks
Zebre Parma: Richard Kriel, Kobus van Wyk, Erich Cronjé, Enrico Lucchin, Simone Gesi, Geronimo Prisciantelli, Alessandro Fusco, Paolo Buonfiglio, Jacques Du Toit, Matteo Nocera, David Sisi (CAPT), Leonard Krumov, Guido Volpi, Iacopo Bianchi, Davide Ruggeri
Replacements: Luca Bigi, Alessio Sanavia, Muhamed Hasa, Andrea Zambonin, Giacomo Ferrari, Chris Cook, Tiff Eden, Jacopo Trulla