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Player ratings: South Africa

OPINION: South Africa cemented their No.1 ranking with a hard-earned 27-20 win over Ireland at a packed Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.


The teams scored three tries each, but the decisive moment was a penalty try from a scrum three minutes before the end.

Jan de Koning rates the South African players!

15 Willie le Roux
He played a big role in the opening try, with a brilliant offload. He was also great under the contestable high balls and produced a sublime cross-field kick. He managed six carries for 50-odd metres.

14 Cheslin Kolbe
Great workrate from the busy flyer, who put pressure on with great chasing, even winning the Boks a crucial five-metre scrum that resulted in the match-winning try. Then there was the moment that he chased a Pollard kick and turned it into a try. There were a couple of errors, but allround a great day at the office.

13 Jesse Kriel
Some very powerful carries – 10 for 80-odd metres – and great on defence, with seven tackles completed. His hands did let him down at times, but he showed why he is now rated SA’s best outside centre.

12 Damian de Allende
Showing greater variety in his skills, while also being great on defence (seven tackles completed) and still producing some strong carries.


11 Kurt-Lee Arendse
Showed his finishing ability early on and produced some great kick-chasing. The yellow card was him sacrificing himself for the team.

10 Handré Pollard
He seemed uncomfortable with the new expansive game and his goal-kicking is now a major concern, with three misses at a crucial juncture in the game. His clearance kicks were also not great.

9 Faf de Klerk
Chased hard and was energetic, with some great first-half clearance kicks. It was not his greatest game, as he was a touch slow at the breakdown at times.


8 Kwagga Smith
After a horror start – with poor hands after restarts and also conceding a penalty – he worked his way back into the game and redeemed himself. He produced a team-high 12 carries, beat four defenders, and completed nine tackles There was a vital try-saving defensive effort on his goalline late in the game.

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
He is certainly enjoying his new role – playing in the wider channels and getting more opportunities to carry. He still made a ton of tackles – a team-high 20 and won a crucial line-out steal. My Man of the Match!

6 Siya Kolisi (captain)
He gave the try-scoring offload for the opening score and had three powerful carries. Even knocked a couple of defenders over. Worked hard at the rucks.

5 Franco Mostert
As always, he did most of his hard work in the close exchanges – making the second-most (12) tackles by the Boks. Won some important line-outs.

4 Eben Etzebeth
He was physical as always and did immense work on defence. His biggest attribution was his line-out work.

3 Frans Malherbe
He showed he is not just a scrum monster, with some important contributions on defence and hard work in the close exchanges.

2 Bongi Mbonambi
Worked hard and his set pieces were good, but perhaps he was overzealous at times and conceded a penalty.

1 Ox Nche
Did some great tidying up behind the rucks and solid in the set pieces. Also some impressive defensive work.


16 Malcolm Marx (on for Mbonambi, 50th min)
Made an immediate impact – and won a crucial turnover penalty and a vital tackle on his goalline. Also won a crucial turnover penalty.

17 Gerhard Steenekamp (on for Nche, 50th min)
His nine tackles were the joint third-most among the Boks, while he showed – in only his second Test – that he can be a scrum monster by assisting to win that crucial penalty try with three minutes remaining.

18 Vincent Koch (on for Malherbe, 50th min)
The new ‘silent assassin’ of the Bok team – working hard in the set pieces (do we need to mention that penalty try) and making his tackles.

19 Salmaan Moerat (on for Etzebeth, 50th min)
He can improve his workrate, but he was efficient with his carries (limited as they were) and made a couple of tackles.

20 RG Snyman (on for Mostert, 50th min)
He was perhaps overzealous and tried to hard, which could explain the two turnovers soon after taking the field. He did make seven tackles and settled into his usual carrying role.

21 Marco van Staden (on for Kolisi, 50th min)
His work on defence and at the breakdown was from the top shelve. A couple of brutal hits and one or two impressive carries.

22 Grant Williams (on for De Klerk, 59th min)
He conceded a penalty for diving onto a player, but generally did the basics well. At least his service was quick and crispy.

23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (on for Pollard, 74th min)
Not enough time to be rated.


In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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