Springboks: The only tackle Pieter-Steph du Toit remembered from the Rugby World Cup final

Jared Wright
South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit tackles New Zealand's Jordie Barrett during the Rugby World Cup final match between the All Blacks and Springboks.

South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit tackles New Zealand's Jordie Barrett during the Rugby World Cup final match between the All Blacks and Springboks.

Pieter-Steph du Toit produced one of the all-time greatest performances in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final, making 28 tackles against the All Blacks.

The hard-working back-rower racked up the impressive tackle count as the Springboks defeated the All Blacks 12-11 to clinch their fourth World Cup title, earning the Player of the Match award for his efforts.

Despite making a record 28 tackles in the final, he has revealed that because of the adrenaline from the match – and laser focus – he remembered making just one.

Playing against the All Blacks

Du Toit said as much in an interview with ex-Scotland lock Jim Hamilton on the Big Jim Show, explaining that he loves the defensive side of the game and particularly enjoys playing against the All Blacks.

“It’s the All Blacks especially, how we performed against them in the past,” the Bok forward said when asked if New Zealand are still the ultimate rival to South Africa.

“We struggled in some games just the way they play. It’s always nice against them… They play a really attractive style of rugby and that suits them and for me, I like defence, so it’s nice to play against them because they give you opportunities to tackle.”

And that was certainly the case in the final, considering Du Toit’s tackle count.

WATCH: All 28 of Pieter-Steph du Toit’s tackles in the World Cup final

The one tackle and marking Jordie Barrett

Asked by Hamilton about his mindset when putting his body through that many tackles and if he knows that he is making that many, Du Toit responded: “In that World Cup final, I remember one tackle.

“I was so focused on the next job. I did the job, put it behind me and moved on to the next job. You’ve got to keep pushing and going forward.

“I remember one tackle after the game and when I started watching it back or saw some footage that people sent to me, I was like ‘Oh’.

“I didn’t realise that was such a good tackle or that I hit this guy that hard.

For the love of scrums, World Rugby stop changing the laws!

“So there’s one tackle I remember. It was from a lineout and Jordie Barrett carried the ball and he dummied first and then I just accelerated into tackle and he knocked the ball on. That’s that’s one, I remember.

“The other stuff was so physically draining that you have to keep going forward and think about the next job, get up.”

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Throughout the final, Du Toit made several tackles on Barrett, but the back-rower explains that it was more by chance than him being tasked with marking the All Blacks centre.

“In our system, we don’t give one person the responsibility to man mark someone,” he added.

“It was by luck, he just ran my way the whole time and all credit to him. He came with everything he had and after the game you are sore and tired and everyone wants this trophy so much they will put their body through a lot to get there.”

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