RATINGS: How Boks performed in 2021 – Am and Nyakane

In the third part of this series, we look at how the Boks performed in a season of mixed results. Next up: Lukhanyo Am and Trevor Nkyakane.

RATINGS: How Boks performed in 2021 – Am and Nyakane

READ | BOKS FINISH THE YEAR AS THE NO 1-RANKED TEAM

BOKS’ KEY MAN: LUKHANYO AM (8)

The dynamic centre started in 11 out of the Boks’ 13 Tests in 2021, only sitting out the one-off game against Georgia, and one of the Rugby Championship Tests against Argentina.

There are few players as integral to the Springbok team as the 27-year-old, who is about as irreplaceable as you can get. That’s not an exaggeration when you consider he is the key lynchpin in an intricate Bok defensive system, and he marshals the backline with aplomb in this regard.

Am is seemingly tireless, with his work rate putting him right up there with the Boks’ best, with the talented midfielder regularly making key contributions on both attack and defence.

The perfect examples of this came in the first Test against the British & Irish Lions when he completed a monstrous tackle on Elliot Daly, while another highlight of the season was his no-look around-the-back pass that set up a stunning try against the All Blacks.

Like many of the Boks, there were one or two blips in his season during the team’s three-match losing streak, but that could not overshadow the fact that throughout this season, he underlined his status as surely the best outside in world rugby currently.

PART 2 | HOW BOKS PERFORMED IN 2021 – MBONAMBI AND MAPIMPI

BOKS’ MR VERSATILITY: TREVOR NYAKANE (7)

The affable prop almost deserves another rating point solely for the fact that he featured across both loosehead and tighthead prop this year, with his versatility proving to be a massive trump card for the Boks, particularly when Frans Malherbe suffered a neck injury towards the end of the injury.

It should not be underestimated just how challenging it is to perform to the highest level on either side of the scrum, and yet Nyakane hardly put a foot wrong.

The big man started six Tests at tighthead, while he wore the No 1 jersey on three occasions and formed part of the Bomb Squad in a trio of Tests.

Nyakane’s fitness has improved immeasurably, and he saved some of his biggest performance for the iconic clashes against the British & Irish Lions.

The powerful prop is a true warrior for the Boks, and although he didn’t finish the year with his best outing against England, it was still a standout season for Nyakane as he reached 50 Test caps in a year where he started more often than not.

RATINGS: HOW BOKS PERFORMED IN 2021 – NCHE AND LE ROUX