Player ratings: Exacting revenge
OPINION: South Africa exacted revenge for the infamous loss to Japan four years ago, when the Springboks demolished the Cherry Blossoms 41-7 in Kumagaya on Friday.
The six-tries-to-one triumph over World Cup hosts Japan is powerful message two weeks ahead of the global showpiece.
It was not perfect, but it was the type of dominant performance that will see the odds shorten even further on SA.
Jan de Koning rates the South African players!
15 Willie le Roux:
His influence on attack and left-footed clearance kicks added great value, while he was solid under the high ball. His off-load for Mapimpi’s first try was top shelve.
14 Cheslin Kolbe:
Conceded a silly penalty early in the game for a cynical slap-down. However, he made amends by scoring the game’s first try and then adding a second later with a well-timed intercept. Satisfactory day at the office.
13 Lukhanyo Am:
Did great work on defence, also tracking back to save his team by collecting dangerous chip-kicks on occasion. Going to be invaluable to the Bok in the World Cup.
12 Damian de Allende:
His hands let him down at times and threw a silly pass that resulted in Kotaro Matsushima try. Also kicked a couple of balls away, messing up promising opportunities. Made 13 tackles, but missed two and conceded four turnovers.
11 Makazole Mapimpi:
Worked very hard on chasing those high bombs and showed his great finishing with a hat-trick. Justified his selection ahead of talented youngster Sibusiso Nkosi.
10 Handré Pollard:
Threw a pin-point pass in the lead-up to Mapimpi’s second try. Dictated terms and directed play as a flyhalf should. Not perfect, but laid the foundation for a solid World Cup.
9 Francois de Klerk:
His amazing rushing on defence caused havoc in the Japanese attacking lines. Boks also got good value from his up-and-unders.
8 Duane Vermeulen:
Carrying strongly and winning turnovers, as Thor always does. Gets through his enormous workload with such consummate ease, at times he seems to be cruising. Yet, his tackle count went into double figures.
7 Pieter-Steph du Toit:
Busy as always. Did a mountain of work on defence, especially to cover when teammates slipped tackles. One of the Boks with a HUGE engine. Match-high 16 tackles.
6 Siya Kolisi (captain):
Worked really hard on defence, 13 tackles, and won a crucial turnover after a period of sustained pressure in the second half. He needed the time on the field.
5 Franco Mostert:
Did plenty of hard work on defence, his 15 tackles only surpassed by teammate Du Toit, and chased back hard to catch a rampaging Pieter Labuschagne. Had some strong carries.
4 Eben Etzebeth:
Great steal in the first line-out and added a few later in the game – but one of those was close to his own line, putting his team under pressure.
3 Frans Malherbe:
Solid in the scrums and made most of his tackles. However, his workrate outside of the set pieces needs to improve.
2 Malcolm Marx:
Not his best day at the office. His workrate was low, compared to his usual standards, and threw a couple of sloppy passes.
1 Steven Kitshoff:
Penalised at the breakdown a couple of times and his workrate on defence was poor. Was solid in the scrums.
16 Bongi Mbonambi (on for Marx, 53rd minutes):
Made his tackles and did the basics in the set pieces. The game had become scrappy by the time he arrived on the scene.
17 Tendai Mtawarira (on for Kitshoff, 53rd minute):
Missed just one of his five attempted tackles and stood his ground in the scrums. Not many opportunities with the ball in hand.
18 Trevor Nyakane (on for Malherbe, 50th minute):
Limped off just over 10 minutes after coming on. His knee injury will be a concern for Boks.
19 Rudolph Snyman (on for Etzebeth, 70th minute):
Not enough time to be rated.
20 Francois Louw (on for Kolisi, 65th minute):
Yellow carded six minutes after appearing on the field. It was a team yellow for repeated infringements.
21 Herschel Jantjies (on for de Klerk, 65th minute):
Conceded a penalty for offside soon after coming on and then scored a try with a sniping break.
22 Frans Steyn (on for Pollard, 59th minute):
Knocked on a high kick, but bounced back to make a tackle that forced a knock-on. Made his tackles. Steady rather than spectacular.
23 Jesse Kriel (on for Am, 63rd minute):
Made four tackles, but was otherwise anonymous.