SA Rugby's best moments of 2018
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The year delivered some interesting events which had some supporters in tears and others celebrating well into the early hours.
Despite many tears and the constant phrase of to turning an L into the lesson, there were times that just left you speechless.
See below for a list of South Africa’s most memorable moments during the 2018 rugby season.
Undoubtedly, the biggest goosebump moment was the Springbok’s 36-34 unexpected win over the All Blacks in their own backyard. The victory was South Africa’s first win in New Zealand since 2009.
Prior to the win the Springboks suffered two consecutive defeats to Argentina and Australia and headed to Wellington under a huge amount of pressure. Nonetheless, with their backs against the wall, Rassie Erasmus’ troops produced a heroic performance which was evident in Pieter-Steph du Toit’s tears after the final whistle.
The Boks proved to the world that the mighty All Blacks are indeed beatable.
2. The Aphiwe Dyantyi show
The 24-year-old was certainly a breath of fresh air. The last time South Africa felt this excited about a wing was when Bryan Habana used his guile all over the pitch. However, this year was all about the new guy – Aphiwe Dyantyi.
The wing produced a tremendous performance for the Lions which resulted in him being named the Lions Backline Player of the year, while his brilliance in the Bok jersey made sure he received the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the year in France.
3. Lions fly SA flag high
Many wondered what would happen to the Lions when Johan Ackermann departed to Gloucester. Ackermann manufactured, not just a team, but a brotherhood which reaped huge rewards on the field. Under Ackermann, the Lions featured in two Super Rugby finals and with his exit, the coaching responsibility was handed to Swys de Bruin.
However, the former assistant coach De Bruin continued with the philosophy. And unlike the other South African franchises, the Lions’ slowly but surely produced incredible rugby each week. The side made their third straight Super Rugby Final with a 44-26 win over the Waratahs at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on July 28.
4. Siya Kolisi gets the captain’s armband
June 9 was the moment Siya Kolisi led the Springboks onto Ellis Park, a day which will forever be etched in the annals of South African rugby.
Leading the team against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in June, Kolisi, the first black Springbok captain wore the iconic No.6 jersey, the same number worn by President Nelson Mandela at the historic 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, also at Ellis Park, which South Africa won.
Kolisi’s first task as captain was celebrated with a 42-39 win over England. The side went on to record secure a 2-1 Test Series victory.
The significant moment was even selected as the July Laureus Sporting Moments of the Month.
Five Sharks’ sweet Currie Cup revenge
Western Province had their sights set on concluding their flawless Currie Cup season with back-to-back titles. However a determined Sharks team had other ideas – they were out to avenge their 2017 Currie Cup Final defeat in Durban.
And the visitors were equipped for the task.
On October 27 the Sharks headed to Newlands with a massive underdog tag but despite the odds they recorded a 17-12 win over Western Province for their first Currie Cup title in five years.
Ever wondered what goes through a rugby player’s head in the dying moments of a must-win battle? We sat down with #OurSharks Currie Cup captain, @ChiliboyR, who gave us insight into how he felt in the last 5 minutes of @TheCurrieCup Final.💭🏆
Full video on our FB page.📹 pic.twitter.com/xLtizHH6ST
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) November 28, 2018
By Leezil Hendricks