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Player Ratings: Boks stamp their authority

OPINION: The Boks sent a warning to future opponents in a World Cup year with a strong performance against the Wallabies in their Rugby Championship opener in Pretoria on Saturday.

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The 43-12 scoreline is an impressive one as the Boks were without a few big names for the clash. However, it just creates some positive selection headaches for the Bok coaches going forward.

See the player ratings below:

15 Willie le Roux
With Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse in the backline, his experience was needed and it showed on the park. His positioning at the back was good and found great distance with his kicks to touch. He varied his play nicely, which included some kick passes that went straight into touch but that kept the Wallabies guessing. The fullback also showed his handling skills with a neat flat pass to Moodie leading up to Arendse’s first try of the game.
7.5/10

14 Canan Moodie
He had more running metres (121) with the ball than any other player on the field. His size and pace troubled the Wallabies’ defence out wide. He had a great run in the build-up to Kurt-Lee Arendse’s first try of the game. The flyer was also a constant threat under the high ball. He made a few mistakes with handling, but it’s not too concerning.
7/10

13 Lukhanyo Am
Not as influential as his midfield partner in open play, but it was a solid performance by the midfielder. He kept the Boks’ defence in check out wide with the Wallabies only scoring two tries in the match. He doesn’t have Andre Esterhuizen’s power in the midfield, but he made some metres when he ran with the ball.
7/10

12 Andre Esterhuizen
He gave the Boks a lot of variety in that inside centre channel. His distribution to his outside backs was good, but it was his carrying into contact that was impressive. He just dominates the collision and he got his side some serious metres in the midfield. He made one clean break in that match and beat five defenders with his carries. If he gets more opportunities and plays like this again, he will be on the plane to France for the World Cup.
9/10

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11 Kurt-Lee Arendse
He continued where he left off at the end of last year’s international season. He is a world-class finisher and he proved it again with three tries. His tally now stands at 10 tries in eight Test matches. He was just a constant threat out wide and he chased some of those high balls well.
9/10

10 Manie Libbok
All eyes were on him in this game. Some of his kicks out of hand were wobbly in the first half, which kept the Boks camped in their own half. However, things got better as he settled into the match. His distribution out of hand was great and he had some good runs on attack, beating three defenders in the game. A lot of his metres came from a clean break in the first half, but he just lost control of the ball on the ground when supporters were arriving.
7/10

9 Cobus Reinach
His service from the base of the rucks was good. On a couple of occasions, he caught the Wallabies’ defence off guard with some sniping runs. Also, one of his jobs was to alleviate some of the pressure from Manie Libbok and he did that with some good decision-making.
7.5/10

8 Duane Vermeulen (captain)
He still got it. The veteran was a colossus in open play. He pushed the Aussies back with some powerful runs. On a few occasions, it just looked like the Wallabies didn’t know how to handle him in the physical exchanges, especially in the second half.
8/10

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7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
He puts his body on the line in every game he plays in and this one was no different. He got his team over the advantage line on a few occasions with some big carries. He missed a couple of tackles, but the ones he did make were hard and brutal. He scored a try after some good support play at the breakdown.
7.5/10

6 Marco van Staden
He certainly proved his worth with a great all-round performance. He was a like a man possessed with ball in hand and he had a couple of good runs. He also set the tone in the second minute of the match with a steal at the breakdown. The loose forward was also part of a good blindside move that resulted in Arendse’s second try.
8.5/10

5 Marvin Orie
The Stormer did well in the line-outs, but he also looked for work around the park. He passed the ball more than any other Bok forward in the match and that helped with the momentum when the Boks were keeping it tight.
7/10

4 Jean Kleyn
It was a solid first outing for the Springboks. The former Ireland lock was a busy man in the first half. He stole the ball from a Wallaby line-out in the eighth minute, but unfortunately, the loose ball eventually led to Marika Koroibete’s try. He also showed his strength by forcing a turnover with a tackle that turned into a maul in the 10th minute. He kept up the physicality in the second half and he can be proud of his performance.
8/10

3 Frans Malherbe
The big man was immovable in the scrums. He would have probably felt that the referee should have rewarded him with a few more penalties. His aggression on defence and in the tight exchanges certainly gave the Boks the upper hand as well.
7.5/10

2 Mbongeni Mbonambi
He won’t be happy with a couple of skew throw-ins at the line-out, but more often than not he found his jumpers. He had a huge shift with ball in hand and he made some serious metres in that department. The hooker also showed his awareness on attack to pass the ball to Arendse for his second try from a well-worked line-out move.
7/10

1 Steven Kitshoff
He was powerful in the scrums. He put Allan Alaalatoa under some serious pressure and he won a penalty in that area as well. In open play, he was strong with ball in hand and it took more than one tackler to bring him down. He was a brick wall on defence and he made his presence felt at the breakdowns as well where he also won a penalty for his team in the 48th minute.
8/10

Replacements:

16 Joseph Dweba (On for Mbongeni Mbonambi, 63rd minute)
He was a strong presence in the mauls and set-pieces. He also had a couple of good carries.
7/10

17 Thomas du Toit (On for Steven Kitshoff, 63rd minute)
He is one of those props that won’t let you down in the set-pieces and in open play and that was there for all to see at Loftus Versfeld.
7/10

18 Vincent Koch (On for Frans Malherbe, 63rd minute)
Solid in the scrums and he just added some raw power to those driving mauls deep inside the Wallabies’ half.
7/10

19 Rudolph Snyman (On for Marvin Orie, 54th minute)
He brought some added power to the pack and that was just a nightmare for the Wallabies in the closing stages of the game.
7.5/10

20 Evan Roos (On for Jean Kleyn, 69th minute)
Not enough time to be rated

21 Deon Fourie (On for Marco van Staden, 65th minute)
He is a player who just brings that added aggression with ball in hand. With the two runs he had, he made 22 metres and that is the impact the Bok coaches want.
7/10

22 Grant Williams (On for Cobus Reinach, 65th minute)
He just brings so much energy to the game. Moments after he came onto the field he had a great run and he kept up that pace for the remainder of the game.
8/10

23 Damian Willemse (On for Wille le Roux, 69th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

Main photo by: Johan Orton

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