Rival Bok fullbacks went head to head in passing battle against All Blacks
By Rugby Onslaught

Rival Bok fullbacks went head to head in passing battle against All Blacks

One thing that both South Africa and the All Blacks showed on Saturday at Ellis Park, is that their handling skills are at the very top of the game.

That could not be said after their first encounter at the Mbombela Stadium, where the All Blacks dropped an inordinate number of balls, and it ultimately cost them. But they turned things around a week later in Johannesburg, as both sides put on a passing clinic in the All Blacks’ 35-23 win.

Two players that produced some exquisite passes were Willie le Roux and Damian Willemse, who both spent most of the game on the field after winger Jesse Kriel went off injured. Le Roux started on the bench, but ended up playing most of the game at fullback while Willemse, who started at fullback, ended up playing most of the game in the centres and often at first receiver.

With both on the field, and alongside Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am, the handling skills in the Bok backline were pinpoint accurate. The two fullbacks were at the heart of the action for both of South Africa’s two tries, assisting both tries with some world class hands. Le Roux set up Am’s try in the first half with his ten metre pass at pace.

Take a look at the try:

Willemse got in on the action in the second half, with an even longer pass to set up Makazole Mapimpi’s try, easily slinging the ball over 20 metres to find his winger in space.

Take a look at the pass:

These two passes set up tries, but both players produced some excellent passes throughout the match. With a constant battle raging to see who wears the No15 jersey, it almost was if they were trying to outdo each other at Ellis Park.

TAS Analytics recently shared a video of the elite handling skills of both sides, and le Roux and Willemse feature often. Take a look: