Springboks simply couldn’t handle moment of unseen genius from Ireland’s Aki
While Ireland centre Bundee Aki grabbed the headlines on Saturday with his player of the match performance where he made the South African defence look nothing more than white and green tissue paper, there were some other interventions that were perhaps more important than his bulldozing runs.
The sight of the 102kg centre bursting through the heart of the Boks’ defence may be the standout moment of the match, or at least his match, but his most important intervention came in the final seconds of the match, and it was a moment of genius that takes him on to a whole new level in rugby.
With a South African driving maul making its way to Ireland’s try line at a frightening speed, Aki knew he had to do something to hold onto his side’s precious 13-8 lead. He knew that an entry at the back of the maul to try and drive the Boks backwards would have been futile- instead, he only had one option, and this shows his genius. Aki decided to fly into the Springbok forwards at the side of the maul, lifting one of their legs up in the process and contributing to the collapsed maul which South Africa were unable to get the ball out of.
Now many people would immediately say that what Aki did was horrendously illegal, and should have been a penalty try potentially. But there is a very thin line between genius and flagrantly illegal, and only the greats teeter on that line. Was Richie McCaw onside at every ruck he won a penalty at or turned the ball over? Of course not! But he is in that very elite club which Aki joined at the Stade de France.
At the end of the day, one person’s intentionally illegal entry at a maul to kill a maul metres from their own line is another person’s genius, and if you get away with it, it is definitely a stroke of genius. Well played, Bundee!
Take a look at the clip, provided by TAS Analytics: