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Player Ratings: Silencing the haters

OPINION: The Springboks ended 2022 on a high with an emphatic 27-13 win over England at Twickenham on Saturday.


Jacques Nienaber’s side outplayed the home team in all areas of the game, which will be a major confidence booster heading into next year’s World Cup.

Here are the Player Ratings:

15 Willie le Roux
He was lethal when he came up on attack. He played a key role in Kurt-Lee Arendse’s try by providing support on the inside for Damian Willemse before giving the final pass to Arendse to run away. He also showed his vision on attack in the second half when he put Arendse into space down the touchline.

14 Kurt-Lee Arendse
He finished his first season of international rugby in style. He was a livewire out wide. The highlight will surely be his try in the 33rd minute. After being put into space, he only had Marcus Smith in front of him and he embarrassed England’s young flyhalf with a great step before running away for a great score. A few minutes later he was nearly away again and in the second half, there was another great run from the speedster after a neat pass from Willie Roux.

13 Jesse Kriel
He probably had one real carry throughout the game. His main job was on defence and he did that job well. He came off the line like a man possessed when England had the ball and it disrupted the home side’s attack on a few occasions.

12 Damian de Allende
The English defenders were on him in a blink of an eye when he had the ball, but he still showed some raw power in a few carries. He was part of a strong defensive display in that midfield, which was integral in the Boks’ win.


11 Makazole Mapimpi
Once again, he didn’t have much of the ball, but he held his team’s defensive line well and he chased the ball with great gusto.

10 Damian Willemse
It was his best performance in the Springboks’ No.10 jersey. He wasn’t his team’s goal-kicker, but he contributed to the scoreboard with two fantastic drop goals. However, it was his attacking play that stole the show. After gathering a high ball, he found space out wide and produced a great run, which set up Kurt-Lee Arendse’s fantastic try in the 33rd minute. He had another great run a few minutes later which ended with a neat offload to Arendse.

9 Francois de Klerk
The veteran gave England a hard time around the rucks. He pressurised their ball carriers with quick darting runs and Marcus Smith bore the brunt of it. De Klerk’s experience really showed on the day and it was a joy to watch.

8 Evan Roos
It was a nervy start for the big man when he had the ball stripped away from him in his first carry. However, he settled down as the game went on and he was one of his team’s main carriers. He made some good metres and he can be proud of his performance in the win.


7 Franco Mostert
He is a player who never stops running and working for his team. He was a star in the line-outs and one of the examples of that was when he stole the ball from an England throw-in near the Boks’ tryline in the second half. He plays every game like his life depends on it and it was incredible to see.

6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain)
The captain put his body on the line for his teammates. He was rock solid on defence and he had some strong carries as well. He also engineered a great counter-ruck at the beginning of second-half moments before Willemse’s second drop-goal.

5 Marvin Orie
It was a solid 46 minutes for the lock. He was one of the key line-out jumpers in the first half and he was good on defence as well. He would not be happy about his dropped ball from a restart in the 43rd minute before he came off the field.

4 Eben Etzebeth
Another strong performance from one of the world’s best players. Once again, he was a key figure in the mauls and the line-outs and like Mostert, he showed his experience when he disrupted an England line-out near his own tryline.

3 Frans Malherbe
He was a colossus in the scrums. Mako Vunipola will surely have nightmares about him. Malherbe won a couple of penalties for his team, which helped kept them on the front foot against the English. The big man was also fantastic on defence. After being replaced in the 58th minute, he was forced to return to the field in the 63rd minute after Thomas du Toit’s red card.

2 Mbongeni Mbonambi
His line-out throwing was exceptional and he provided some grunt in the mauls as well. He will not be happy with a couple of missed tackles, but he made up for it with his aggression in the physical exchanges.

1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
He was part of a strong scrumming performance in the first half. He hardly gave Kyle Sinckler an inch in that department. He had limited opportunities with the ball in hand, but he hardly put a foot wrong.


16 Malcolm Marx (On for Mbongeni Mbonambi, 46th minute)
A central figure in the scrums in the second half and his line-out throwing was great. He also made his presence felt at the breakdowns as well.

17 Steven Kitshoff (On for Retshegofaditswe Nche, 46th minute)
His main job was to continue that scrum dominance in the second half and he succeeded. He showed his experience by winning a scrum penalty in the 53rd minute and he continued to terrorise his opponent for the rest of the second half.

18 Thomas du Toit (On for Frans Malherbe, 58th minute)
He was only on the field for about three minutes before he received his red card for a high shot. It put his team under a bit of pressure in the final quarter.

19 Marco van Staden (On for Evan Roos, 53rd minute)
Most of his work was done on defence and he did it well.

20 Albertus Smith (On for Marvin Orie, 46th minute)
Every team in the world wants a Kwagga on the bench. He is just electrifying when he enters the fray. He made England work at the breakdowns and he defended with great passion.

21 Jaden Hendrikse (On for Francois de Klerk, 73rd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Manie Libbok (On for Wille le Roux, 61st minute)
He came on the field when the Boks were down to 14 men, so he didn’t have much ball to work with. He had one great run and his positioning on the field was good.

23 Canan Moodie (On for Kurt-Lee Arendse, 78th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.


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