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Player Ratings: Reality check at Ellis Park

OPINION: The Springboks failed to record back-to-back wins over the All Blacks on Saturday.


Just a week after the Boks recorded a stunning win over the All Blacks, the visitors bounced back in fine fashion beating South Africa 35-23 at Ellis Park.

Trailing 10-15 at the break, the Boks failed to combat the All Blacks’ physical onslaught and had to settle for the defeat.

South Africa suffered an early blow with only 10 minutes gone when groggy wing Jesse Kriel was forced to retire and veteran fullback Willie le Roux came on.

Leezil Hendricks rates the South African players

15 Damian Willemse
Simply another fantastic performance by the 24-year-old. He copped a yellow card in the opening minutes of the match. Fortunately for him, the Boks did not concede any points during the 10 minutes. He moved to No.12 following Jesse Kriel’s departure in the eighth minute and it was not a bad effort from the utility back. He made up for his early mishap as he ignited the Springboks’ attacking plan, setting up Makazole Mampipi’s try with a perfectly executed loop pass.

14 Jesse Kriel,
The wing’s return was cut short as he was forced to leave the field following a failed HIA Test. Similar to Faf De Klerk, Kriel sustained the head-nock in his tackle attempt on Caleb Clarke in the eighth minute.


13 Lukhanyo Am,
Another masterclass by Am. Unfortunate not to score a try in the opening minutes of the match. But eventually, his hard work was rewarded –  powering over two defenders for his first try against the All Blacks. The centre had to move to the wing after coach Jacques Nienaber rejigged his backline, but he continued to cause loads of problems for the All Blacks outwide.

12 Damian de Allende,
A very disappointing Test by the usually electrifying centre’s standards. He missed crucial tackles including the big one Caleb Clarke which set up the All Blacks’ first try. The centre tried to get in the match with some carries but failed to make an impact – moving him to the outside centre certainly did not help.

11 Makazole Mapimpi,
He won a penalty in the opening minutes and faded in the first half. However, he improved in the second half as he continued to look for work. He also contested the high ball very well and scored a try.

10 Handre Pollard,
The flyhalf struggled and failed to dictate the match in the first 40 minutes. However, labelled as Mr Cool by All Blacks legend Justin Marshall, Pollard bounced back and produced another cool and collected display in the second half and kicked very well.


9 Jaden Hendrikse,
It was a very challenging outing for the No.9. He did the basics well and most of his box kicks were okay.  Conceded an obstruction penalty.

8 Duane Vermeulen,
Playing in his first Test of the season after his rehab after knee surgery, it was clear that the 36-year-old had problems with his match fitness. Nonetheless, he made two great carries before being replaced by Jasper Wiese in the 35th minute.

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit,
Far from his best by his standards. He looked out of pace and even missed a couple of tackles. The highlight of his game was when he intercepted the ball inside his own half, unfortunately his legs could not get him over the line.

6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain),
Was not a perfect performance from the captain, and struggled to inspire his team. He was good in defence, made 10 tackles and missed one. Really not active at the breakdown.

5 Lodewyk de Jager,
Was caught offside which resulted in the All Blacks’ first points of the match. Other than that the lock did the basics right, collected the ball well in the line-outs and no one can deny his incredible work rate at the mauls.

4 Eben Etzebeth,
A very quiet display by his standards. He made only three carries but was more industrious in defence with nine tackles.

3 Frans Malherbe,
The best of the struggling starting front row, however not the most memorable 50th test cap for the prop. The All Blacks certainly did their homework on Malherbe along with his fellow front row partners, who also struggled with the scrums. However, his defence was good, making 12 tackles.

2 Joseph Dweba,
Coming in for the injured Bongi Mbonambi, the Stormers-bound hooker had big boots to fill. And it was certainly a match to forget. He conceded an early scrum penalty, while he also struggled with line-out throws – one was stolen and the other one in the 22nd minute was skew. He made way for Malcolm Marx after just 29 minutes.

1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Part of the front row that was realy under pressure in the scrums – the prop also conceded an early penalty. He had problems in defence and failed to make his usual strong carries.

16 Malcolm Marx (on for Dweba, 29th minute)
The hooker made a big impact. His line-out throws were solid and he managed the driving maul superbly. Far from last week’s show, the hooker’s tackle rate is in double figures.

17 Steven Kitshoff (on for Nche, 35th minutes)
His introduction was much-needed, especially at the scrums. He was also solid in defence with eight tackles. However, he failed to deliver some solid carries.

18 Vincent Koch (on for Malberbe, 50th minutes)
He certainly made very little impact and was basically anonymous on the park.

19 Franco Mostert (on for De Jager, 40th Minutes)
Made a great line-out steal inside his own 22. Worked very hard and made all of his tackles.

20 Jasper Wiese (On for Vermeulen, 35th minute)
He took to the field when the Boks were trailing 0-15 and certainly made a huge impact. He added physicality and carried well. Conceded a silly penalty in the 48th minute but overall it was a tremendous display by the replacement, who certainly has a case for the No.8 jersey.

21 Albertus Smith (on for Kolisi, 50th minute)
Working very hard off the ball, making a couple of good tackles.

22 Hershel Jantjies (on for Hendrikse, 75th minute)
Not enough time to be rated

23 Willie le Roux (on for Kriel, 8th minute)
The replacement was solid under the high ball and his kicks helped alleviate some pressure. His experience is another facet the Boks will need doing forward.



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