Player ratings: Tired but triumphant

Sat, 23 Nov 2013 19:59
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The Springboks, frustrated and fatigued, achieved their year-end objective in their 19-10 victory over France in Paris on Saturday.

The Springboks, frustrated and fatigued, achieved their year-end objective in their 19-10 victory over France in Paris on Saturday.

It wasn’t a classic. It wasn’t clinical and it wasn’t pretty.

But one can hardly criticise the performance of a Springbok side who, despite clearly running on empty, comfortably held a committed France outfit at bay to end a 16-year drought against Les Bleus on French soil and complete an unbeaten end-of-year tour.  

In this instance, the result supersedes the performance.  

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Springbok players.

15 Willie le Roux
Found land with most of his attacking chips to put France under pressure and varied his play well to keep them in two minds on defence.

14 JP Pietersen

Ultra committed, making good on his promise to up his workrate. Excellent chasing to score an opportunistic charge-down try, which proved crucial. No chances to stretch his legs.  

13 Jaque Fourie

Another underwhelming performance by a player who’s far from his best. Not necessarily a bad game but well below his lofty standards.  

12 Jean de Villiers (captain)

Looked tired (one can hardly blame him). Missed a few tackles, rushed out of line on occasions and threw a poor pass to Pietersen. Ran hard till the end.   

11 Bryan Habana

Good workrate as always and solid on defence but had little attacking opportunities and kicked straight down France’s throat when he opted to put boot to ball.

10 Morné Steyn

Steered the ship with aplomb in the first half and slotted all his kicks at goal. Not as influential in the second half and made a costly handling error.  

9 Ruan Pienaar

The same old problem - slow to the ruck and slow to clear from the base. This time allowing the French back into the game by gifting them a try on half-time. A couple of good tactical grubbers into touch was the highlight of a poor outing.

8 Duane Vermeulen

The Springboks’ most effective ball carrier, outstanding on defence and won a line-out.  

7 Willem Alberts

So physical and powerful, often driving ball carriers back. For a player under an injury cloud who “shouldn’t have played” according to coach Heyneke Meyer, he really put his body on the line. Slipped a few tackles but still won the official man of the match award.  

6 Francois Louw

His hard work - sublime defence, world-class workrate and good ground game – was undone by ill-discipline, which worryingly crept into his game again.

5 Flip van der Merwe

The Springbok line-out struggled but Van der Merwe certainly wasn’t to blame. Losing the athletic Eben Etzebeth early on, Van der Merwe took responsibility, winning six and losing just one despite being targeted. He also did a ton of work on defence.   

4 Eben Etzebeth

Not enough time to be rated.

3 Coenie Oosthuizen
Passed his tighthead test with an impressive scrum performance for the most part. Had an excellent first half in which he was great around the field and won a textbook turnover on the deck. Went missing a bit in the third quarter but finished strong.

2 Bismarck du Plessis

Really struggled with his line-out throwing, missed a tackle and conceded a penalty.

1 Tendai Mtawarira
Ticked the scrummaging and defensive boxes but could have carried the ball more.


16 Adriaan Strauss
(on for Du Plessis, 66th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

17 Gurthrö Steenkamp (on for Mtawarira, 56th minute)
Held up his side of the scrum but fell off a couple of tackles. With plenty of young props on the horizon, he really didn’t make a compelling case to retain his place in the squad on the end-of-year tour.

18 Lourens Adriaanse
(on for Oosthuizen, 73rd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

19 Bakkies Botha (on for Etzebeth, 15th minute)
A bit slower and less explosive, as evident in France’s line-out dominance, but the veteran did a decent 60-minute holding job.  

20 Pieter-Steph du Toit
(on for Alberts, 68th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Siya Kolisi (on for Botha, 74th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Jano Vermaak
Not used.

23 Pat Lambie (on for Le Roux, 56th minute; on for Steyn, 72nd minute)
Not enough time to be rated (played just 12 minutes).