Superb Willemse reflects on Twickenham drop goals: 'It was instinct'

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  • Springbok flyhalf Damian Willemse said instinct took over when he drilled two drop goals in their 27-13 win against England at Twickenham.
  • Willemse also sparked Kurt-Lee Arendse's try that knocked the wind out of England's sails in the first half.
  • Willemse has grown from strength to strength at 10, having started in the position in all four games through the tour.

In London

Springbok flyhalf Damian Willemse said instinct took over when he went for the drop goals in their 27-13 win against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Willemse, who started in his fourth consecutive Test at flyhalf, split the uprights with two drop goals in each half to keep the pressure on England.

The six points he gained from those opportunities were just an aperitif to an excellent game he had at pivot for the Boks.

Willemse, who came into the tour as the third-choice selection at No 10 due to an injury to Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies' absence for personal reasons, upped his street cred in the position.

MATCH REPORT | 14-man Boks smash Twickenham bogey with convincing England win

Where he plays when Pollard is fit will make for an interesting selection headache, especially with Willie le Roux having a marvellous return to form on the tour.

Willemse said he practised a few drop goals during the week, but instinct took over during the game.

"It was going through my mind because I think before that, England was defending pretty well," Willemse said.

"It was one of those moments where I dropped back in the pocket and got the three points. I was really happy with how I struck the ball.

RECAP | Powerful Springboks demolish England pack to silence Twickenham faithful

"I'm really happy that I could contribute and help the team get over the line. We did do a bit of training in the week, but, at the moment, it was instinct."

Willemse's growth at flyhalf through the tour mirrored the Boks' gradual development from Dublin through to London.

There was an unsure and panicked nature to his play that stemmed from his goal kicking in the 19-16 loss against Ireland on 5 November that filtered down the team.

When he was freed from the primary goal kicking responsibilities for the France Test a week later, he showed the glimpses of calm, composure, and game management that would be the hallmark of his excellent displays in Genoa and London.

While both wins were proper team efforts, it was easy to see how a confident and clear-thinking Willemse was positive for the team.

READ | Bok ratings: Damian dazzles as England dumped

Willemse though was happy to credit his forwards for how well he played at Twickenham on Saturday as the Boks snapped a six-year losing streak at the ground.

"I'm really happy with the performance and I think the forwards gave me a really good platform to contribute," Willemse said.

"I'm really happy with that and I think all around, we, as a team, gelled tonight. Willie le Roux and the wings were great."

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