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Player ratings: Bomb squad saves Bok blushes

OPINION: Damian Willemse slotted a penalty to secure a fortuitous 32-29 win for South Africa over Wales at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.


However, it was the famous BOMB SQUAD that saved the Springboks their blushes and prevented the Welsh from getting the first-ever win on South African soil.

Trailing 3-18 at the half-time break, the Boks made good use of their replacement bench – scoring four second-half tries to salvage a win in the opening match of the three-Test series.

Jan de Koning rates the South African players!

15 Damian Willemse
Chased out of line and got it wrong in the opening try for Wales. Made plenty of carries, for 128 metres, but was at times too selfish and too often ran up a blind ally. His options were better than Jantjies when coming in at first-receiver and took over goal-kicking in the second half, with mixed results. Kept his nerve to slot the match-winning kick.

14 Cheslin Kolbe
Some great kick-chasing and tackles. Then showed his attacking skill in the second half and scored a crucial try in a match of limited opportunities. The pocket rocket is back!

13 Lukhanyo Am
Great penalty turnover early in second half and more effective on attack after the break – with some great metres gained. Conceded a couple of turnovers, but settled for a decent all round game.


12 Damian de Allende
Powerful carries and an immense work rate . Showed some great vision in Kolbe try.

11 Makazole Mapimpi
Not a day when the game flowed his way. Very few opportunities on attack, but did his job.

10 Elton Jantjies
Didn’t get into his rhythm in the opening half. His first kick hit the uprights from a relatively easy position and then missed another sitter. He then kicked a penalty out behind the corner flag and displayed some very poor options. Was replaced at half-time.

9 Francois de Klerk
His service was not accurate as it should have been, not crisp enough. Took over touch-kicks in the second half and was even more erratic and had far too many shockers.


8 Jasper Wiese
Started with a knock-on from an up-and-under and then penalised for a no-arms tackle. Made plenty of strong carries – his 19 runs earning him 54 metres. His work rate was up there and he made amends for some of those early blunders.

7 Franco Mostert
Worked hard off the ball, attended plenty of rucks and made all of his tackles. Not flash, but efficient.

6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain)
Showed some great spirit and defended his teammates against Welsh niggle – getting more involved in off-the-ball chatter. However, generally a quiet day by his standards.

5 Lodewyk de Jager
Penalised for an off-the-ball tackle and his first-half carries were not very effective. Also conceded some penalties, but made an impressive 13 tackles.

4 Eben Etzebeth
Great early line-out steal and kick-charge down inside Wales 22. His tackles count was also into double digits, but like De Jager ge struggled to get over the advantage line with his carries.

3 Frans Malherbe
Was a quiet day at the office and struggled to impose himself in the scrums. Also quiet in general; play.

2 Mbongeni Mbonambi
After a slow start, his work rate increased, making some good ground with strong carries. Scored the Boks’ first try to start the comeback.

1 Retshegofaditswe Nché
No real impact from his four carries, made a handful of tackles and was solid in the scrums.


16 Malcolm Marx (on for Mbonambi – 48th min)
Brought some much-needed power and energy to the forward pack and was part of the massive effort in the last half-hour that got the Boks back in the game.

17 Steven Kitshoff (on for Nche – 48th min)
His scrumming power helped the Boks get the edge in the set pieces, but missed as many tackles as he made and not very effective with ball in hand.

18 Vincent Koch (on for Malherbe – 48th min)
Solid in the scrums, busy at the breakdowns and missed just one tackle. Good value off the bench.
19 Salmaan Moerat (on for Etzebeth – 71st min)
Not enough time to be rated.

20 Elrigh Louw (on for Mostert – 51st min)
Had one very good carry, won a turnover and made his tackles.

21 Albertus Smith (on for Kolisi – 51st min)
Brought some much-needed energy to a pedantic pack. Got plenty of metres with his evasive running and made his tackles.

22 Herschel Jantjies (on for De Klerk – 72nd min)
Not enough time to be rated.

23 Willie le Roux (on for Elton Jantjies – half-time)
Showed his creative value to the Boks – setting up Kolbe’s try with a crucial play and making plenty of metres when the Bok game screamed for an attacking spark.


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