Wednesday, July 16, 2008
A defining moment in the recent Springbok victory over the All Blacks in Dunedin was possibly in the 11th minute of the match when New Zealand lock Ali Williams ran into South African brick wall Schalk Burger.
Burger, who some people think is half man and half metal has been referred to as anything from the Incredible Schalk to RoboBok . He has no regard for his own body, and throws himself around with little regard for the opposition either.
He made an impressive 22 tackles against the All Blacks, showing his true worth as one of the most important players in the Springbok side.
Ali Williams, himself an integral part of the New Zealand team, came off second best with the nasty collision when running into Burger early on in the test match.
Its been described as a headclash, but looks more like Ali Williams head on Schalk Burgers jaw, which makes one wonder how Burger barely flinched after a hit that saw Williams fall to the floor in a pile of daze and discomfort.
Williams wasnt the same again, and besides the ringing in his ears, his ankle started to play up too. He soldiered on admirably, but left the field in the 29th minute, to be replaced by the totally inexperienced Kevin O'Neill. The stand-in did a decent enough job, but the value of Williams is immense, and it was a huge loss to the All Blacks.
Nick Mallet, now coaching Italy, has described Burger as a thrashing machine with absolutely no fear. When talking to The Independent about comparisons between the Tri Nations and the Six Nations, he says the key difference is not the technical, fitness, or even skill levels of the players, but the intensity.
The Afrikaaner is very physical; he loves tackling and is very brave. Its the same among the players of island origin in the New Zealand sides.
Ive had plenty of requests for this clip since the match. Its not malicious, or even spectacular, but its quite amazing to see two huge men collide, with one falling to the floor and the other totally unaffected.
Ali Williams breaks his jaw courtesy of Sebastien Chabal
Read further: Full interview with Nick Mallet here .