Player Ratings: All bark and no bite
OPINION: The Springboks’ inability to convert good possession and territorial dominance into points proved costly in their second Test against Wales in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Although it was an experimental matchday squad, the Boks had several talented and experienced campaigners on the field, but they couldn’t breach Wales’s defence in a 12-13 defeat.
A couple of the debutants can hold their heads up high, but it’s still a defeat at home for the world champions and it’s not going to go down well with the supporters.
Check out the Player Ratings below.
15 Warrick Gelant
He was a livewire at the back. He showed great determination to run the ball back when it was kicked to him and he made more metres with ball in hand than any other player on the field. His passing under pressure still needs to be refined at this level of the game and his kicking out of hand was not the best at times.
14 Kurt-Lee Arendse
You could just feel the excitement levels rise whenever he got the ball. He was nearly in for a try in the opening few minutes after Warrick Gelant put him into space. He also evaded a few defenders in the second half when he got some more ball to work with. He also stood up to the physical challenge on defence by putting in some big hits on players who are larger than him.
13 Jesse Kriel
The halfbacks certainly made sure the ball went his way on attack and he did deliver some good runs. His speed out wide kept Wales on their toes and he did have an eye for the gap. However, he got a bit predictable as the game went on.
12 Andre Esterhuizen
He just didn’t have that impact the Boks want from a big physical No.12. He made some metres with a couple of his carries, but you just felt that there was more in him. He also made a couple of mistakes with ball in hand. He delivered a poor pass out wide in the seventh minute when the Boks had a great attacking opportunity and he also dropped the ball in contact in the 38th minute when momentum was building.
11 Aphelele Fassi
He didn’t get a lot of opportunities with ball in hand, but he certainly made his presence felt on defence. He was also a good chaser of the ball when the Boks were trying to put Wales under pressure. Maybe he should be given an opportunity in the fullback position.
10 Handre Pollard (captain)
Even though no tries were scored, the Springboks were more assertive on attack with him at No.10. Not only did he look to put his centres in space, he also took the ball to the line on several occasions. However, execution is still a problem when it comes to South Africa’s flyhalves. He will also be kicking himself after missing a couple of penalties, especially the one in the 56th minute.
9 Jaden Hendrikse
He brought great energy and his service from the rucks was fast and accurate for most of the game. He had a mixed bag in terms of his decision-making and his kicking out of hand could be better as well. Overall, it was a good performance from the youngster.
8 Evan Roos
He had more carries than any other player in the Springboks’ pack. With those carries his gainline success was top of the charts. With his big presence, he attracted more than one defender which created some space out wide. He can also be proud of his defensive performance. It was a good debut.
7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
The Bok coaches will be happy seeing him get through a full 80 minutes after the injury woes he had. It will take some time before he gets to the form that made him the world’s best player in 2019. However, he did show glimpses of it in the physical exchanges, especially on defence.
6 Marcell Coetzee
The breakdown maestro didn’t get a lot of opportunities to disrupt Wales’ ball, but he was one of the go-to men when it came to carries around the rucks. He didn’t get much gainline success, but he certainly kept the Welsh defenders busy. On defence, he was rock solid like many of his teammates.
5 Marvin Orie
He hardly put a foot wrong. He was a reliable catcher in the line-outs and he took his aggression levels in open play to a higher level in this Test. He certainly imposed himself physically at the rucks and on defence.
4 Eben Etzebeth
He was by far the best player on the field for the Springboks. He terrorised Wales at the line-outs – he won a couple of balls on their throw-in and he also showed his strength by almost single-handedly stopping their driving mauls. He lives on the edge and he gave away a couple of penalties, but he does that in every game.
3 Trevor Nyakane
It was a mixed bag in the scrums, but that might also be down to the referee’s interpretation. He did win a scrum penalty against Gareth Thomas in the 17th minute. The big man had a couple of strong carries, but his gainline success was nothing to write home about.
2 Joseph Dweba
He had a few big carries in the first half. One of those surely ended in a headache for Dan Biggar in the closing stages of the first half. His line-out throwing was generally good, but he will be kicking himself with his skew throw-in in the 25th minute when the Boks were just metres from the Welsh tryline.
1 Thomas du Toit
Like Trevor Nyakane, he didn’t have a great time in the scrums, but he made up for it with a high work rate in open play. He hardly gave an inch on defence. In fact, he was one of his team’s best defenders when he was on the field.
16 Malcolm Marx (On for Joseph Dweba, 41st minute)
His line-out throwing was spot on in the second half and he was part of a stronger front row as well. He can be a menace at the breakdowns, and he demonstrated that by winning a penalty in the 49th minute.
17 Ntuthuko Mchunu (On for Thomas du Toit, 49th minute)
He showed his power by winning a scrum penalty in the 61st minute, but he also gave away a penalty in that area of the game in 76th minute. He didn’t get a lot of opportunities in open play, but he can hold his head up high.
18 Vincent Koch (On for Trevor Nyakane, 41st minute)
He was solid in the scrums, but he did give away a cheap scrum penalty in the 48th minute. He was a big presence on defence and he had a couple of strong carries as well.
19 Ruan Nortje (On for Marvin Orie, 60th minute)
Another one of those debutants that needs a pat on the back for getting into the thick of things up front. Defensively he was strong and made some valuable contributions in the set-pieces.
20 Rynhardt Elstadt (On for Marcell Coetzee, 49th minute)
He made his presence felt on defence with some monster hits. He certainly brought the aggression when he came onto the field.
21 Deon Fourie (On for Evan Roos, 49th minute)
The debutant made the most of his opportunity with some aggressive and powerful ball carries. His gainline success was impressive.
22 Grant Williams (On for Handre Pollard, 74th minute)
Not enough time to be rated
23 Damian Willemse (On for Aphelele Fassi, 68th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.