With much of the pre-match chat concentrating on the apparent lack of attack from Jacques Nienaber’s Springboks, last weekend’s Rugby Championship head-to-head with the All Blacks certainly turned some heads in the rugby world.
In what was an incredibly tight match between the two sides, both South Africa and New Zealand showcased their attacking flair and proved that when rugby is played with attack in mind, it can produce cracking encounters.
South Africa just edged out the Kiwis with a final-minute penalty kick to win 31-29, but the game had been given a new lease of life it seemed, for the preceding 79 minutes.
That came from the All Blacks being the All Blacks and the Springboks resorting to a more open, expansive style of rugby which looked like it suited them to a tee.
And while the well-coined phrase from former England head coach, Sir Clive Woodward in 2003, “there’s nothing boring about winning” conceivably still rings true, it was as clear as day that the product shown last weekend was far superior to anything seen in the past seven days.
That affair had focused on constant, almost obsessive box kicking and very limited attacking play, despite options being plentiful.
Last weekend’s display had the local South African pundits raving, suggesting a potential turning of the tide in how the Springboks should play the game.
Whether this heralds a brand-new style for the Boks in the future, or simply an extra string to the bow of Nienaber’s squad (in which they adapt their style to whoever they face) remains to be seen.
What it did show, however, was that attacking rugby almost always gets more fans excited about their team on a Saturday afternoon.