Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx earned his 50th test cap against New Zealand in the opening game of the 2022 Rugby Championship in Nelspruit.
The 28-year-old hooker made his test debut against the All Blacks in Christchurch in 2016 and has been a regular for both Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber winning the Rugby Championship, Rugby World Cup and Lions Series since.
On Saturday, he was named in the starting XV for the first time in a year with his start-replacement tally now evenly split 25-25 each.
Marx rose to the occasion and was named man of the match in his milestone appearance as the Springboks claimed a comprehensive 26-10 victory over New Zealand, their second-largest margin of victory in their history against the All Blacks and the best in the professional era.
Personally, Marx equalled an individual record that had not been matched in six years.
In his 54 minutes on the pitch, he claimed five turnovers - a tally matching that of David Pocock who won the same number against New Zealand back in 2016.
While Marx was on the right side of the result on Saturday, Pocock wasn't as successful as Australia fell to an 8-42 defeat.
Opta report that a player has affected four or more turnovers on just seven occasions in the Rugby Championship.
Marx has done so on three occasions, Pocock twice, Michael Hooper once and Duane Vermeulen once.
4 - Players to win 4+ jackals in a @SanzarTRC match:— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) August 8, 2022
5 - Pocock (v New Zealand 2016)
5 - Marx (v New Zealand 2022)
4 - Hooper (v New Zealand 2013)
4 - Vermeulen (v New Zealand 2014)
4 - Marx (v New Zealand 2017)
4 - Pocock (v New Zealand 2018)
4 - Marx (v Argentina 2018)
Marx spoke highly of the role his team-mates played in allowing him to be named Man of the Match in his milestone game: “Winning it in my 50th Test was special, but it was because of the guys and squad around me. I tried to do my job to the best of my ability and the guys around me did more than that.”
“Our preparation in the last two weeks was unbelievable, and this victory was a squad effort. The guys that didn’t play were key in preparing us to play as well as we can.”
Head coach Jacques Nienaber had a special word for praise for Marx.
“I thought he was outstanding – and that’s Malcolm,” said Nienaber.
“He is the guy that exemplifies what a Springbok should be. He is a warrior; a guy who had to work hard to get where he is; he had to make the change from loose forward to hooker – so he really had to work hard to get where he is.
“I have worked with him since he was an Under-20 in 2014 and it is phenomenal to see what a guy he has become. This was a milestone game and hopefully it will prepare the road going forward for him for the next 50 test matches.”
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