After three rounds of the Rugby Championship, New Zealand sits in their familiar place atop of the table, with a resurgent South Africa lurking in second place.
While the world champions continue their seemingly inexorable march towards yet another tournament victory, the Springboks have finally gotten their act together after a torrid 12 months that saw them drop to a lowly seventh, their worst ever.
Now, following two victories and a draw from their last three fixtures, the Boks are up to third and preparing to take on the might of the All Blacks on Saturday.
Round three saw the stuttering Wallabies host South Africa in Perth last weekend as they sought their first win of the championship. Leading 20 – 10 in the second half, Michael Cheika’s side let their advantage slip and the visitors recovered to draw the contest 23- 23.
But for their new captain, Michael Hooper, Australia could well have been handed a third straight defeat. With the Boks breaking free from their own 22-metre line, some deft offloading saw Jan Serfontein make a 40-metre sprint for the open Australia try line.
With an inevitable try coming, Hooper, showing incredible pace, tracked the centre from the middle of the park and chased him down before hauling him to the ground on the five-metre line.
Take a look.
How good was this cover tackle from Michael Hooper!
— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby) September 12, 2017
Coming from a flanker, that was truly remarkable pace from Australia’s captain.