Player Ratings: Kings of the South
OPINION: Handre Pollard scored 31 points, as South Africa thrashed Argentina 46-13 in Salta Saturday to win the Rugby Championship for the first time.
The Springboks last won a SANZAAR competition in 2009, when they finished first in the Tri-Nations – the forerunner of the Rugby Championship.
Here are the South African players’ ratings!
15 Willie le Roux,
A very quiet first half for the fullback, particular on attack. Nonetheless, his kicks from the 22 helped South Africa exit quickly. Still a little inconsistent.
14 Cheslin Kolbe,
The wing’s presence was again vital, whether on attack or defence. His work rate was just impressive. He made 37 metres in eight carries. Also took over the role as scrumhalf during Faf de Klerk’s 10 minutes in the sin bin.
13 Lukhanyo Am,
Another player who did not fire on all cylinders. His defence was great. However, his attacking skills continue to be a flaw in his game. The centre made one noteworthy run, but nothing spectacular.
12 Damian de Allende,
It was one of his better performances in the Springbok jersey. Was a prominent figure in defence, as he made some solid tackles – which drove the Los Pumas back. Also vital at the breakdown, making a crucial turnover on 48 minutes, less than five metres from the Bok line.
11 Makazole Mapimpi,
A nervy start by the wing. His first touch was a knock-on, but gradually found his feet on attack. He made a few runs and one that stands out – his linebreak in the 62nd minute, which eventually led to his try.
10 Handré Pollard,
The flyhalf produced a marvellous performance and showed why he is one of the best flyhalves in the world. Might have missed a couple of kicks from the tee, but he made up for it by contributing 31 points – including a brace of tries and five penalties kicks. Also had a hand in Mapimpi’s try.
9 Francois de Klerk
The scrumhalf delivered yet another commanding performance. He was solid in defence. However, was handed a yellow card.
8 Duane Vermeulen (captain),
The captain was brilliant under the high ball. Made sure the Springboks claimed possession from the restarts, which set a perfect platform for the side. He led the troops very well.
7 Pieter-Steph du Toit,
Another hard-hitting, relentless 80 minutes for flank. On attack he made 22 meters and nine carries, while his defence was a little flawed, missing four of his 11 tackles (not the stats we’re used when it comes to Du Toit). Everybody is allowed to have an off day – even the tackling machine Du Toit.
6 Albertus Smith,
Not very abrasive and failed to stand out. Made a handful of carries, but was eventually replaced by Francois Louw after 56 minutes.
5 Franco Mostert,
Showed tremendous power when it came to physical battles. His work on attack was just as impressive, with his carries well into double digits. His defining linebreak also set up Handre Pollard’s second try.
4 Eben Etzebeth,
Another robust and very physical performance. He made all his tackles and on attack, he made solid runs. Also made a break in the opening minutes which got the team inside the Argentina half.
3 Trevor Nyakane,
Fuelled by his fellow front row, the prop was impressive in the scrum. He bullied the Pumas’ pack and secured multiple penalties for the Boks. Certainly, made a good case for the No.3 jersey.
2 Mbongeni Mbonambi,
His selection over Malcolm Marx had the tongues wagging. However, the hooker showed how effective he can be. His line-out throwing was on point, while his strong carrying ability proved helpfull. The hooker also scored a try.
1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Solid. The prop was a beast in the scrums and worked all around the field before being replaced by Steven Kitshoff after 45 minutes.
16 Malcolm Marx, (on for Mbonambie, 45th minute)
Line-out throw-ins have improved. Did not make his signature runs, but was good.
17 Steven Kitshoff (on for Mtawarira, 45th minute)
Was out to prove himself and he did. He scrummed well and just like the Mtawarir kept the pressure on Los Pumas pack.
18 Frans Malherbe, (on for Nyakane, 49th minute)
Fairly okay performance. Helped the scrum maintain its dominance. However, he missed two tackles.
19 Rudolph Snyman, (on for Vermeulen, 65th minute)
Had a quiet day by his standards, with rare moments of injecting himself into the game.
20 Francois Louw, (on for Smith, 56th minute)
The flank is a menace a the breakdown. He made a crucial turnover. However, a little bit too overeager and conceded two penalties.
21 Herschel Jantjies (on for De Klerk, 70th minute)
Not enough time to be rated
22 Frans Steyn, (on for Damien de Allende, 65th minutes)
The centre showed tremendous skills, as he made a marvellous pick-up in the build-up to Cheslyn Kolbe’s try in the 67th minute. He can certainly do with more game-time ahead of the World Cup.
23 Jesse Kriel (on for Am, 58th minute)
Made a noteworthy difference when he entered the field. He was looking for work, as he made a few metres and two solid carries.