Player ratings: New bomb squad has a perfect 10
OPINION: South Africa produced a second-half masterclass to blow Italy away in Genoa on Saturday.
Just two days after they had their Director of Rugby banned, again, the Springboks outscored the Azzurri by nine tries to two.
It was a great mix of brute force and sublime running skill that blew the Azzurri away, after the home team trailed by just six points (13-18) at the end of an impressive first half.
It was a five-try blitz in a 10-minute spell in a one-sided second half that took the sting out of the Italians.
Jan de Koning rates the South African players!
15 Willie le Roux
Got caught out of position on defence early, but settled down to run Italian kicks back with good effect and often arrived at first-receiver – always scanning for opportunities.
14 Cheslin Kolbe
Not a great start, missing his first conversion attempt. However, he soon found his range. Was great on covered defence and kept looking for work. Scored a sublime try from a restart, but seemed to pull his hamstring in the process.
13 Damian de Allende
Conceded turnover with silly kick just outside Italy 22 and played like a No.12. However, he answered one big question: He can plug a gap at outside centre in an emergency.
12 Andre Esterhuizen
Not a flawless performance, but got plenty of metres with some powerful runs and certainly putting his hand up for more Bok game time.
11 Kurt-Lee Arendse
Showed his finishing ability in the opening minutes and while he was hesitant – conceding penalty when carrying the ball back – he was lethal when given space – clocking up 170 metres with 13 carries.
10 Damian Willemse
Sublime show-and-go and then pass to set up first try for Arendse. Took the ball to the line regularly, asking questions of the defence, and again showed his versatility by moving to the wing after Kolbe left the field.
9 Francois de Klerk
Made a poor snipe around a ruck five metres from line that saw him tackled into touch, did not find touch with a penalty and conceded an offside penalty. However, there was some great scramble defence on backfield cover and great sniping. Acceptable, just!
8 Jasper Wiese
Not his best performance of the season, but worked hard – with seven carries and five tackles, without slipping any.
7 Franco Mostert
Collapsed his own team’s maul metres from Italy’s line and made no real ground with his four carries. His biggest contribution was on defence – where he made eight tackles, but also slipped three.
6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain)
The Springboks’ most productive forward, with some great support play and work off the ball. He had seven carries and eight tackles in what was one of his best games of the year.
5 Marvin Orie
Did great work on the restarts, but looked rusty and made no impact with the ball in hand. Made a handful of tackles.
4 Salmaan Moerat
Worked hard in maul defence, but otherwise quiet day at the office. Missed as many tackles as he made.
3 Frans Malherbe
Not enough scrums for his considerable bulk to have had a real impact. His carries and work on defence were limited.
2 Mbongeni Mbonambi
Got a talking-to by the ref for chirping after he scored his try – adding to the perception that South Africans are whiners. Just eight metres from four carries conceded a turnover and made just five tackles.
1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
Immense work in maul defence and like his fellow forwards there were not enough scrums for him to have an impact in the set pieces. Just two carries and five tackles.
16 Malcolm Marx (on for Mbonambi – 50th min)
Made some real metres with the ball in hand, was rock solid in the set pieces and missed just one tackle.
17 Steven Kitshoff (on for Nche – 50th min)
Apart from the work in the set pieces and at the breakdown, he also made most of his tackles – slipping just one. Did the job required of him.
18 Vincent Koch (on for Malherbe – 50th min)
Starting to regain his World Cup form, with a much-improved work rate and also being solid in the set pieces.
19 Eben Etzebeth (on for Moerat – 43rd min)
Brought the energy that lacked in the second row – making 40-odd metres with four carries, made four tackles and missed just one. Also threw his considerable bulk around at the breakdown.
20 Albertus Smith (on for Orie – 51st min)
Like all the forwards that came off the bench, he brought some real energy to the game – making just under 30 metres with five caries. He also made all but one of his tackles.
21 Evan Roos (on for Wiese – 60th min)
Had a few decent carries and made a handful of tackles. Can do with some more game time to get accustomed to the systems.
22 Cobus Reinach (on got De Klerk, 69th min)
Not enough time to be rated.
23 Manie Libbok (on for Kolbe – 47th min)
Sparked the Bok attack from the moment he stepped onto the field. He showed the attacking form that made him such a great player in the URC and did not put a foot wrong – getting that balance between running and putting teammates into space.