Durban – Nobody was more surprised than Damian Willemse when out of the blue he struck not one but two drop goals to give the Boks momentum on the scoreboard during their impressive 27-13 defeat of England at Twickenham.
In the 24-year-old’s previous 26 Test match appearances, he had never attempted a drop goal and he says the idea came to him because of the tightness of the tussle in the first half.
“The drop goals were not planned,” Willemse smiled. “I just felt there was no momentum for us at that stage, England defended really well in their 22, so I thought I would take a chance and I struck them sweetly.
“I am pleased I could contribute and the whole team is just so happy that we could close an up-and-down tour with a good win,” he continued.
“I am very proud of the boys because nobody complained when it wasn’t going well and after losing to France we put our heads down and we went to Italy and did the job there.
“The good win in Italy gave us some confidence, and we said we had to finish it off with a win at Twickenham where we had not won since 2014 and a number of the guys had never won there.”
Willemse deserves to return home to Cape Town all smiles after an exceptional year for him. He started the season at fullback but when Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies fell by the wayside, he had to do an ambulance job at 10 against Wales.
A few months later, Willemse has made the No 10 jersey his own and is now favoured to continue in the position at next year’s World Cup.