Player Ratings: South Africa
OPINION: It was another nerve-wracking 80 minutes for the Springboks as they claimed the World Cup 2023 title with a narrow 12-11 win over 14-man All Blacks on Saturday.
Handre Pollard kicked four penalties to steer South Africa to a record fourth Webb Ellis trophy.
How the Springboks players rated:
15 Damian Willemse
The utility back was a calm figure at the back. His exit kicks were accurate, which alleviated some of the pressure from Handre Pollard. Unlike last week, he dealt with the aerial onslaught well. He may not have hit his usual strides on the attack. He tried a couple of drop goals but failed on both occasions.
14 Kurt-Lee Arendse
The wing’s try-saving tackle on Rieko Ioane in the 37th minute was the highlight of the match. He chased hard and made a couple of metres.
13 Jesse Kriel
He was anonymous on the attack. But made up for it in defence. His rush defence was vital and read New Zealand’s attack perfectly.
12 Damian de Allende
A very quiet game from the centre, who had an amazing tournament. At a certain point, he looked a little bit indecisive on attack.
11 Cheslin Kolbe
Celebrating his 30th birthday the wing put in an incredible shift. Unfortunate to conclude with a yellow card. Nonetheless, he was part of a solid back three. He chased hard and dealt well with the high ball. He made a couple of good metres, slipping defenders. And on defence he was class.
10 Handré Pollard
He is certainly the golden boy of South Africa. After kicking the Boks into the semifinal against France and the Final against England, the flyhalf backed it up with another incredible display. He kicked to posts with ease, kicking all South Africa’s points in the final.
9 Faf de Klerk
South Africa’s favourite scrumhalf dictated proceedings extremely well. For the vast majority of the match his box kicking was effective which eased the pressure on his team in tricky weather conditions.
8 Duane Vermeulen
Might be playing in his final World Cup match, Thor held his own against the All Blacks. His strong carries got the team over the advantage line on numerous occasions. The veteran will certainly be missed.
7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
It was a perfect performance by the workhorse. The flank was beast. His tackling was immense, making a whopping 28 tackles. The flank’s tackle on Jordie Barrett in the closing minutes stopped the All Blacks’ momentum and was absolutely crucial. The standout performer for the Boks.
6 Siya Kolisi, (captain)
It was a mixed bag for the skipper. The first half was incredible, solid defence. In the second stanza, the troubles started. Created a perfect scoring opportunity but unfortunately did not offload. He also was handed a yellow card after a high tackle on Ardie Savea.
5 Franco Mostert
A very underrated figure in the squad, however, he put his body on the line. He made 15 tackles. Part of a malfunctioning line-out, but put in a massive defensive display before being replaced by RG Snyman in the 51st minute.
4 Eben Etzebeth
He showed why he is labelled the ‘Enforcer’. The lock put in a big hit on Richie Mo’unga in the opening minutes which send a clear message to the flyhalf. He continued with his big tackles and also made a line-out steal. A very impressive performance by the lock, who has been nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year.
3 Frans Malherbe
Another unsung hero. The prop put in a massive shift. His scrummaging was solid and his tackling was well into double figures. Certainly a much-needed cog during this absolute physical match.
2 Bongi Mbonambi
He was forced to leave the field after three minutes after Shannon Frizell dropped his body weight on his leg.
1 Steven Kitshoff.
His open play was solid and his steal won the team a penalty which Pollard kicked to posts. Replaced by Ox Nche on 52 minutes.
16 Deon Fourie ( on for Mbonambi,3 minutes)
Came onto the field after just three minutes, replacing Mbonambi. He struggled with the line-outs – failing to find his jumpers, not throwing straight or seeing his throws snatched by New Zealand. However, was a menace at the breakdown and certainly a standout in the team
17 Ox Nche (On for Kitshoff, 51 minutes)
Failed to back up last week’s scrum dominance but overall he was solid. Carried well and made some solid tackles.
18 Trevor Nyakane ( On for Malherbe, 65 minuyes)
He was solid in the closing stages and handled the pressure well especially in final scrum of the match.
19 Jean Kleyn ( on for Etzebeth, 59 minutes)
Did not make much of an impact but was a threat with ball in hand.
20 RG Snyman (On for Mostert, 51st minutes)
Added another dimension with his signature carries and offloads.
21 Kwagga Smith ( on for Vermeulen 59th minutes)
Certainly a super-sub. This flank’s rip from Will Jordan was crucial
22 Jasper Wiese (on for Kolisi, 72nd minutes)
Not enough time to be rated.
23 Willie le Roux ( on for Willemse, 65th minute)
Was introduced to provide some stability and calmness and he certainly did.