Player ratings: Butcherly Boks
OPINION: South Africa stayed alive in the Rugby Championship with a hard-earned 36-20 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
The bonus-point win was based on the brutal power of the Springbok forwards, but the victory also almost butchered the victory – allowing Los Pumas to come back to within two points in the second half.
In the end, a late two-try blitz saw the Boks move to 14 points – the same as New Zealand – with their third win of the championship.
It will all go down to the wire next week, when the All Blacks host the Wallabies in Auckland and South Africa host Argentina in Durban.
Jan de Koning rates the South African players!
15 Willie le Roux
Was looking to be far more involved on the attack and was rock solid at the back. However, he conceded a couple of penalties and a yellow card.
14 Canan Moodie
Good chasing of high bombs and dangerous with ball in hand. Not flawless, needing some work on defence – missing three tackles.
13 Jesse Kriel
Very quiet first half and conceded a couple of turnovers. Made all his tackles.
12 Damian de Allende
Great on defence and with the ball in hand. Butchered a certain try early in the second half, but scored a crucial try with a power play late in the second half.
11 Makazole Mapimpi
Limited opportunities in the first half, but great chasing after the break and made all but one of his tackles.
10 Damian Willemse
He was not flawless, but is settling into his new role. His reading of the game is up with the best. Got concussed and the Boks may be looking for a new flyhalf next week.
9 Jaden Hendrikse
Varied his game and asked some tough questions. Also scored a crucial try just short of the half-hour mark.
8 Jasper Wiese
Busy settling down as the starting No.8 and making some really impressive carry metres – more than most backs.
7 Franco Mostert
A bit over-eager at the breakdown, but his work at ruck and maul time can’t be ignored. He also made a match-high 17 tackles.
6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain)
Was impressive on defence in the first half and produced some great linking with his teammates. However, seemed to run out of puff after the break.
5 Lodewyk de Jager
Some good carries, with good work in the set pieces and got through a mountain of work on defence.
4 Eben Etzebeth
Conceding penalties by being over-eager at the breakdown, but made amends with a chase and winning a penalty. Continued to work hard and took his tackle count into double digits.
3 Frans Malherbe
Conceded a couple of scrum penalties and his work rate outside of the set pieces remains a concern.
2 Malcolm Marx
Great work off the ball, but it was his physical presence on defence and at the breakdown that was invaluable. His 14 tackles was the second most in the match. Also showed some great hands to get the bonus-point try in the 80th minute.
1 Steven Kitshoff
Carried with purpose and was a rock in the scrums. There was a crucial line-out steal close to his line late in the first half.
16 Deon Fourie (on for Kolisi, 60th min)
Won a crucial turnover penalty with two minutes remaining and worked hard on defence. A valuable cameo.
17 Retshegofaditswe Nche (on for Kitshoff, 68th min)
Not enough time to be rated.
18 Trevor Nyakane (on for Malherbe, 59th min)
Conceded the scrum dominance South Africa had in the first hour and his work rate was poor.
19 Elrigh Louw (on for Wiese, 54th min)
Won a crucial turnover penalty late in the second half and made seven tackles in his stint.
20 Albertus Smith (on for De Jager, 54th min)
Won a breakdown penalty in his first action as a replacement. However, was yellow-carded and conceded a penalty try – which put his team under pressure.
21 Francois de Klerk (on for Hendrikse, 60th min)
Did the basics well and his kicking was much-improved. Was a real menace on defence.
22 Andre Esterhuizen (on for Kriel, 76th min)
Not enough time to be rated.
23 Francois Steyn (on for Willemse, 65th min)
Brought the calmness the Boks needed in the backline when Los Pumas looked to steal the show. May well start next week in Durban.