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'Unstoppable': Ex-All Black midfielder's verdict on new-look Springboks

By Ben Smith
Edwill van der Merwe celebrates scoring a try during the Summer Series international rugby union match between South Africa and Wales at Twickenham Stadium, south-west London, on June 22, 2024. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP via Getty Images)

Former All Black and current Tongan and Benetton centre Malakai Fekitoa has offered his view on the new-look Springboks after their first game of 2024.


With Rassie Erasmus returning as head coach of the national side, the coaching staff includes a number of new assistants including former Highlanders coach Tony Brown.

Fekitoa, who played under Brown’s tutelage when he was an assistant coach with the Highlanders, said he could already see Brown’s influence after their 41-13 win over Wales at Twickenham.

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Taking to X, he wrote that the “shapes look different already” and that the Springboks would be “unstoppable after a few tests” as they build a new identity.

With young flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse receiving a rare start at No 10, the Springboks showed a desire to move the ball early and took all of three minutes to construct a long range strike.

Wide play to the left edge saw Jesse Kriel and Makazole Mapimpi combine for the game’s first try to the Springbok centre. In the second half, Kriel turned provider to set up Mapimpi for a try down the left flank.


Right winger Edwill van der Merwe finished the game with a solo effort, beating a handful of Welsh defenders up the middle for a blistering score.

Fullback Aphelele Fassi impressed under the high ball, defusing a number of high kicks from Wales, while reserve flyhalf Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu looked composed scoring his first Test points with a penalty from over 50.

The Springboks return to South Africa for their scheduled July slate, with two Tests against Ireland and one against Portugal.

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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jacques 29 days ago

Relax people. This was one game against a C team. Now we talk about the backline attacking like never before and and and. Let us talk once the year is done. Then we will have a better idea of where we are going.

Wesley 30 days ago

Will the real Ben please stand up

monty 30 days ago

Not only were wales unstructured they continually kicked away possession which laid the platform for bokkie to run the attack straight back and on front foot they looked good. The Welsh managed glimpses but i’d rate them 2nd tier. The bokkie will be a worthy combatant for the abs however consistency is going to be the determining factor something they’ve struggled with in the past.

SadersMan 30 days ago

My street team would be unstoppable against Wales, to be fair.

Jon 30 days ago

Haha when Stransky or whoever said in the URC Final the boks were the curtain razor I thought literally 🤣

Schalk 31 days ago

Who are you, and what have you done with Ben Smith?

Henrik 31 days ago

the next gen rebuild will be crucial as most of the RWC-winners do have a certain age ….
besides, is this the first article by Ben Smith without any vitriol poured on the Boks? What happened?

MattJH 31 days ago

NZers are well aware of what the Boks have with Tony Brown.
Mpimpi, Am, Kobe etc will have a whole new set of skills to play with.
We are potentially entering the best era of attacking rugby in a long time.

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