Springboks thump Georgia to make winning return
The Springboks found a bit of rhythm in the closing stages, dominating territory and forcing the visitors to resort to stifling tactics as they concede a number of penalties in their own 22.
JOHANNESBURG - Not since the World Cup final in Japan had Siya Kolisi led a team out onto the field in the famous green and gold.
That all changed on Friday as the Springboks clashed with Georgia in the first of two test matches in preparation for the much anticipated British and Irish Lions series.
Rosko Specman and Aphelele Fassi made their first starts for the national team in an otherwise experienced starting 15.
South Africa started on the back foot as Georgian fly half, Tedo Abzhandadze converted an early penalty.
The world champions weren’t behind for long as Fassi marked his debut with a brilliant try after some slick hands from the back line. The winger just managing to stay in play as he crossed the whitewash with his first carry of the ball.
The rest of the first half was marred by stop-start play as South Africa clearly showed signs of rust, giving away a number of penalties. The majority of those were in kicking range with Abzhandadze taking full advantage of those opportunities.
Georgia leading 9-5 with 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Springboks found a bit of rhythm in the closing stages, dominating territory and forcing the visitors to resort to stifling tactics as they concede a number of penalties in their own 22. The continuous infringements resulted in a yellow card for the Georgians.
South Africa took full advantage of that as Bongi Mbonambi crashed over the line in the 35th minute.
Fassi was involved in the 3rd try of the game as his kick over the top bounced favourably for Cobus Reinach who finished off the move that started inside South Africa’s own 22.
The Boks taking a 19-9 lead into the break.
South Africa started the second half much better than they did the first, putting pressure on the Georgian scrum.
That pressure eventually paid off as Kwagga Smith dotted down under the posts in the 54th minute.
Herschel Jantjies came on in the 55th minute and didn’t take long to score his 5th try in a Springbok jersey. Pollard with a kick through that was gathered by Damian Willemse and quickly recycled for Jantjies who sniped around the fringes of the ruck and dotted down.
It was a dominant second half display by South Africa, largely due to the players coming on off the bench, with the forwards in particular stamping their authority on the game. That was highlighted by Malcom Marx who rumbled over the line after another solid line out and maul.
The Boks leading 40-9 heading into the final 10 minutes.
There would be no further points added as a much improved second half showing saw South Africa ease to victory in Jacques Nienaber’s first game at the helm.