As a team, the Springboks made 974 successful tackles in France. This is exactly 100 more than England in second place.
On the individual front, players such as Franco Mostert (73 tackles), Pieter-Steph du Toit (66 tackles), Siya Kolisi (58 tackles) and Eben Etzebeth (52 tackles) excelled.
In Saturday night’s final, players like Mostert, Kolisi and Deon Fourie once again defended with heart and soul, but there is a reason why Du Toit was named the player of the match.
The Springbok loose forward stopped an All Black player in his tracks 28 times in the match, while he also achieved reverse possession once.
Needless to say, coach Jacques Nienaber believes that Du Toit deserves a big pat on the back.
“He was phenomenal. Defense is my department and he had an extraordinary game. I have to say, in the last few games you could see that he – and the other players – really wanted to win.”
According to Nienaber, the former student of Hoërskool Swartland often found himself in the right place; precisely when the Springboks needed him the most.
“I always tease that he will probably also try to flatten a plastic bag if it blows over the field. He is the ‘Malmesbury missile’ and he played like a machine.”
Du Toit made his debut against Wales in Cardiff in 2013 and he has since represented the Springboks in 76 tests.
In 2019 – after the Boks’ World Cup success in Japan – he was named World Rugby’s player of the year.
Tom Curry (England), Ardie Savea (New Zealand), Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa) and Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) were among the nominees.