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Player ratings: Leaving it late

OPINION: South African finally broke their Cardiff drought, but they left it rather late – sealing the 23-18 win with an Elton Jantjies penalty in the last minutes.


It was an arm-wrestle at a very wet Millennium Stadium, with the Boks’ famed forward power getting them over the line in the second half.

Jan de Koning rates the South African players!

15 Damian Willemse
He lasted just 13 minutes, before leaving the field injured with concussion.

14 Jesse Kriel
Some good chasing and a couple of threatening runs, but some poor decision-making and his hands also let him down at times.

13 Lukhanyo Am
He was solid on defence and while it may seemed a quiet day at the office, one run in particular had the Welsh defence scrambling. Solid performance.

12 Damian de Allende
Won a great turnover, followed by a couple of strong carries early in the game. Then there was also a great break late in the first half. Also made a number of significant tackles.


11 Makazole Mapimpi
Not many chances, but showed he still knows his way to the tryline and made a crucial chase late in the game.

10 Handré Pollard
His decline in form was again on show and while his goal-kicking was significantly better, he is still not the driving force he was at the World Cup.

9 Herschel Jantjies
His kicking game was, at times, shocking. His decision-making was not great either and his service was ponderous.

8 Duane Vermeulen
Did plenty of donkey work and perhaps not as flash as his fellow loose forwards. But his physical presence with ball in hand and on defence should not be underestimated.


7 Albertus Smith
Won a crucial turnover with Wales on attack and then won another just outside his own 22. There were some impressive carries and another crucial turnover late in the game. The Boks’ most valuable player, with his 13 tackles third-most in the game.

6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain)
Did some great work on defence and at the breakdown – winning a crucial turnover. There was also great try-saving tackle, to go with a couple of strong carries.

5 Lodewyk de Jager
He did get isolated and conceded a penalty in the second half. However, his carries went into double figures and his 14 tackles was a team-high and second-most in the game.

4 Eben Etzebeth
There was plenty of endeavour, both with ball in hand and on defence. Another workmanlike performance from the Bok stalwart.

3 Trevor Nyakane
While his workrate outside the set pieces could have been better, he certainly did not let the team down and contributed to the Boks’ forward dominance.

2 Mbongeni Mbonambi
Great work at the breakdown, a number of strong carries, one great offload and solid work on defence.

1 Retshegofaditswe Nché
Was involved in a couple of incidents that were checked out by match officials and got yellow carded for the second. Was productive on defence when he was on the field.


16 Malcolm Marx (on for Mbonambi in the 45th min)
His strength came in handy in the second half. He won a crucial turnover, produced two tackles breaks and scored the match-winning try.

17 Steven Kitshoff (on for Nche in the 45th min)
Crucial penalty won on the final hooter. Made a number of strong carries and was massive in the scrums.

18 Vincent Koch (on for Nyakane in the 45th min)
His role in the set pieces, like the rest of the front row, was invaluable. Had a handful of carries and solid on defence.

19 Franco Mostert (on for De Jager, 60th min)
His workrate is always impressive, especially on defence. Got over-eager and conceded a penalty.

20 Jasper Wiese (on for Kolisi, 71st min)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Cobus Reinach (on for Jantjies, 54th min)
One great run, that included a tackle break, but some poor kicking.

22 Elton Jantjies (on for Pollard, 65th min)
He was solid and one restart put the Welsh under tremendous pressure. Also landed the match-sealing penalty.

23 Frans Steyn (on for Willemse, 13th min)
Conceded a penalty with Boks on attack in Wales 22. However, made amends with some great runs (four tackle busts) and great out-of-hand kicking. There was also a crucial penalty midway through the second half.


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