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by: Gareth Rosslee   ·    18 June 2014

Red hot: Springboks vs Wales

There were impressive performances across the park from the Boks in the 1st Test, but one man stood head and shoulders above the rest: Willie le Roux.

The Springboks were rampant against Wales in Durban, running out comfortable 38-16 winners in a one-sided encounter.

Wales simply had no answer for the pace, vision and execution of Cheetahs fullback Willie le Roux. He scored one himself, set up the other three South African tries and pulled off everything he attempted in the perfect rugby of the first half.

Willie le Roux (Wales, 2014) will be filed alongside Morné Steyn (All Blacks, 2009) and Fourie du Preez (England, 2007) as legendary individual performances by a Springbok in the Green and Gold.

It was fortunate for Wales that Le Roux picked up a knock just before half-time that made him visibly uncomfortable, as they had barely managed to lay a hand on him in the first 40 minutes. He battled through and finished the game, but a subdued Le Roux put the brakes on the Bok scoring charge in the second half.

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards joked to the media that his plan to thwart Le Roux might be to ‘lock him in the toilets before the game’ as he professed his high esteem for what he called ‘a thinking man’s rugby player’.

It was a Springbok performance to be remembered, with Gurthrö Steenkamp the focal point of a brutal forward display in his 50th Test. The inside backs were sharp, the midfield ran hard and the wings were clinical in finishing off the moves.

However, it will be Willie le Roux’s soaring performance that lives longest in the memory banks.