Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx brought up 50 Test caps for the Boks in style by putting in a massive performance to be named man-of-the-match in their impressive 26-10 Rugby Championship win over the All Blacks at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
In a fantastic 55-minute shift Marx was absolutely colossal at the breakdown, almost stealing the All Blacks ball at will, while he also made a number of big carries and enjoyed a flawless night in the lineout, hitting his jumper every time.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber was full of praise for Marx, who has had an interesting journey to where he currently is.
“I thought he was outstanding, and that’s Malcolm. When we were chatting in the week about his 50th and who is Malcolm, today I said to him he is the guy that amplifies what a Springbok should be,” said Nienaber.
“He is a warrior and a guy that had to work hard after making the change from loose forward to hooker. So he really had to work hard to get to where he is and I’ve worked with him since U20.
“2014 was the first time that we started working together and it’s phenomenal to see the guy he is now. This milestone game is what it is, it’s a milestone. Hopefully it will prepare him for the road ahead and the road ahead is the next 50 Test matches.”
Captain Siya Kolisi was also extremely proud of Marx and shared a number of words with him on the side of the pitch after the game.
“I was just telling him how proud I was of him and just honouring him. I was saying how happy we are as a team for him and how proud we are that he stood up in a game like this,” said Kolisi.
“We never made it about him this week and he is going to be a father soon, so it was huge. He is a special guy in our team. Faf (de Klerk) called him the teddy bear of the team and he is always making jokes. But when he gets on the field he switches to someone else.”
Marx himself was very humble about his own performance, choosing rather to heap praise on his fellow team mates who he credited with putting him in the right position to dominate at the breakdown and enjoy an amazing day
“It was special, but when you have guys around you in the squad like this it makes it unbelievable. I don’t know how else to answer it. I think the squad is unbelievable, they make it special for you and they work hard,” said Marx.
“I tried to do my job to the best of my ability and I think everybody else around me contributed even more than that. I think it’s the guys around me who put me in that position. There are guys who make the tackles and put in the hard work in order for me to get in on the ball.
“So it’s not just an individual person that’s getting in on the ball and making the steal. There’s a whole lot of other factors that come into the game and allow me to do that.”