He powers over, wheels away in emotion, thumps the Munster crest and roars into the north terrace.
This was not a childhood Munster supporter, this was no Peter O’Mahony or Donnacha Ryan, this was Jaco Taute on his European debut – a South African bruiser who epitomized everything great about Munster’s performance on Saturday afternoon.
Powerful would be the word best available to describe the showing. In attack and defence the outside centre was no less than monstrous.
The GIF above doesn’t show anything spectacular, in fact Taute misses his first tackle of the game, but what it does show is incredible desire. Just fifty seconds on the clock and the Springbok bursts off the line, making a good decision to cut the overlap dead in a menacing pursuit of Sam Johnson.
The initial effort to take down his man is full of energy but Johnson somehow slips out of what looks like a good technical tackle. Now Jaco is pissed off.
He knows the importance of the occasion and the responsibility that lies on him and his teammates. Not an inch was allowed to be given. As seen, he scrambles to his feet in fury and takes down his man with impact seconds later. “You’re not getting away that easily today.” And no attacker beat him for the rest of the match.
6/6 tackles were made from there on in and every single one of them was thumping. It’s fair to say Finn Russell won’t be looking forward to the reverse fixture.
This is a piece of beauty.
First off, Bleyendaal gave another case for the Man of the Match award with an intelligent reverse pass to the absolute genius that is Rory Scannell. Rory hits the ball with pace and at an angle, fixes two defenders with his dazzling footwork and releases his centre partner into the corner.
Taute’s involvement is very basic but he executes the basics perfectly when it mattered. We’ve seen in recent times with Francis Saili on occasion, that the second last man to the touchline can spoil an attack by staying deep. Playing Connacht last season, this pass from Scannell was thrown a few times in the same way – sharp and flat, but more than once it turned out to be too far in front of the receiver and thus ended up beyond the touchline.
These are key moments in games. Against Glasgow, Taute, the team and supporters are fired up as he crashes over. Last season, the team would have become greatly frustrated as these situations inevitably lead to turnovers and groans around Thomond Park.
Fortunately, the new man barges on at full pace, almost completely in line with Scannell, drifts outside the widest Glasgow shirt and sends the stadium into frenzy.
Listen, I know it’s so simple but by having that style of attacker outside Bleyendaal and Scannell will be invaluable for Munster.
He’s A Keeper
Saili’s contract expires this Summer and you can be sure he has All Black aspirations to attend to beyond that. Chris Farrell from Grenoble has been rumoured to be joining next season to fill that void as a result. Jaco meanwhile, is only on a three month loan from the Stormers/Western Province.
When Saili leaves Munster, you’re left with a free NIQ (Non-Irish qualified) space in the squad. The question beyond that is whether Rassie Erasmus thinks a foreigner is best utilized in the centre or elsewhere.
There are whispers that the plan is to keep hold of Jaco Taute if he impresses until Christmas, but there’s always question whether the Stormers would allow it and does the Chris Farrell situation not suggest that Munster have other plans?
Scannell, Bohane, Arnold, Farrell. Let’s be honest, that set of midfielders is not going to send many shivers down opponent’s spines. Add Taute into that mix or replace Farrell (though he could end up being a good signing) and you’re looking much healthier.
When I look at Taute, I see a beast of a man who has put his body on the line for Munster in his short spell, a Springbok who wears the Munster crest as his heart and someone who has now experienced the best of Thomond Park.
Back at Stormers he had huge injury troubles since being internationally capped and for a finish, was disappointingly ridiculed for his performances from his secondary position of fullback. With Damien De Allende and Juan de Jongh the starting centres and Cheslin Kolbe returning in the fifteen shirt next season, you would have to say, all looks bleak for Taute in Cape Town in significant contrast to his situation here.
Please don’t allow Taute to be another ‘what if’ or ‘cult hero’, to be another Paddy Howard or Will Chambers. Allow Taute to flourish in his new home and let the supporters cherish every moment of it.