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Player Ratings: South Africa

OPINION: The Springboks will be kicking themselves that they didn’t convert more opportunities into points in Saturday’s World Pool B encounter against Ireland in Saint-Denis.


Jacques Nienaber’s side fell to a narrow 8-13 defeat to the No.1 ranked side in the world and there will be some aspects of their play that they can be proud of.

However, a lack of composure in the strike zone will be something they will want to work on going forward in this World Cup.

Check out the Player Ratings below:

15 Damian Willemse
The best backline player in the Bok team by a country mile. He was a constant threat with ball in hand and his footwork was just a joy to watch on attack. He made plenty of metres with his 12 carries and he also beat five defenders, which was the most in the match.

14 Kurt-Lee Arendse
He is such a dangerous player with the ball and he kept the Irish on their toes with some good runs. He also showed his versatility with a great steal at the breakdown in the 18th minute and a great take in the air in the 27th minute. The Boks need to give him more ball.

13 Jesse Kriel
Again, he caused the Irish a few problems with some great rush defence and he produced a great cover tackle on Hugo Keenan in the 13th minute. He had a few carries and he made some serious metres in the midfield. However, he just lacks that unpredictability that the Boks need in the midfield going forward.


12 Damian de Allende
His teammates just didn’t give him enough ball in that midfield like he had in the opener against Scotland. He gave Garry Ringrose and Johnny Sexton some headaches with two big carries. That barnstorming run in the 22nd minute in Ireland’s 22 when he beat several defenders was the highlight of his match.

11 Cheslin Kolbe
He didn’t get a lot of ball to work with, but he did score his team’s only try of the game. He conceded a few turnovers, but he did apply a lot of pressure when chasing kicks.

10 Manie Libbok
He showed some nice touches on attack which included a looping pass to Cheslin Kolbe into space in the 50th minute which allowed the wing to run in for his team’s only try of the game. However, his goal-kicking will be under the microscope again. He missed a conversion and a penalty in the second half, which was costly in the end. His defence in the flyhalf channel was also not the best. He missed a few tackles with the most notable one being the miss on Bundee Aki in the 28th minute. Ireland eventually built momentum from that which led to Mack Hansen’s try.

9 Faf de Klerk
He seemed to lack composure on a few occasions, especially in the first half when he threw some wild passes to his wings. He put Cheslin Kolbe under pressure with one in the opening minute and then sent a long pass to Kurt-Lee Arendse in the 17th minute when it needed to go through the hands. He did make some good decisions on attack at certain stages in the first half, but it was a bit predictable again. He missed a few penalty kicks to polls, but those were also long-range ones.


8 Jasper Wiese
The Irish kept him in check for most of the time when he was on the field, but he did have several strong carries, which helped get his team over the advantage line. He also produced a great breakdown steal in the 46th minute when Ireland was on the attack inside South Africa’s half.

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
He produced a great line-out steal in the third minute when his team were camped inside their own 22. The No.7 was also a core member of the driving mauls. On defence, he brought the physicality and he got plenty of opportunities with ball in hand, but without much success in terms of metres gained.

6 Siya Kolisi (captain)
He put in a huge shift on defence and was directly responsible for the Irish going backwards on a few occasions. The captain also made life difficult for the Irish at the rucks. However, he didn’t get as much ball in hand as he would have liked in open play.

5 Franco Mostert
It was another outstanding display in the line-outs from the workhorse. He read Ireland’s throw-ins well and he was responsible for a couple of steals with the most notable one being in the 44th minute when his team was under plenty of pressure. He also made his presence felt at the breakdowns.

4 Eben Etzebeth
It was not the best showing from the veteran lock. He gave away a few penalties and turnovers and he just wasn’t as physical in open play as we are used to. However, he did apply plenty of pressure in the line-outs which caused problems for Ireland. He was also outstanding on defence.

3 Frans Malherbe
He played like a man possessed on defence in the first half and he was definitely one of the top defenders on the field. He didn’t get total dominance in the scrums and he did give away a scrum penalty in the 58th minute which allowed Ireland to regain the lead. Looking back at the game it’s really hard to remember if he even had a carry in the game.

2 Bongi Mbonambi
His line-out throwing was way better than his opposite number in the match and he was a key defender on the field. With Malcolm Marx out of the tournament, he had a bigger spotlight on him in this game. Marx is a much more all-round player in open play and that is something Boks probably didn’t get from Mbonambi in this match, especially when they needed to put Ireland under pressure at the breakdowns.

1 Steven Kitshoff
It was a solid showing of the scrums with Tadhg Furlong providing him with a stern test in the front-row battle. He struggled to make an impact in open play with ball in hand and he wasn’t too effective in the breakdown battle. However, he showed his worth with some big hits on defence.


16 Deon Fourie (On for Bongi Mbonambi, 64th minute)
There will be question marks over his ability to cover the hooker position after his performance off the bench. A skew line-out throw in the 71st minute cost the Boks a great attacking opportunity inside Ireland’s 22. It also seemed that the scrum was not as stable when he was on the field.

17 Ox Nche (On for Steven Kitshoff, 48th minute)
He made an immediate impact at scrum time when he came onto the field. He put Tadhg Furlong under pressure midway through the second half which resulted in a penalty.

18 Trevor Nyakane (On for Frans Malherbe, 62nd minute)
He helped win a scrum penalty in the second half and he put a couple of big hits on defence. However, the Boks just needed a bit more involvement in open play.

19 Jean Kleyn (On for Eben Etzebeth, 48th minute)
He had a couple of good carries, but he just seemed to fade away a bit in the final 15 minutes.

20 RG Snyman (On for Franco Mostert, 48th minute)
A couple of great runs by the big man in the second half. He showed his speed with one in the 69th minute and he also beat two defenders.

21 Marco van Staden (On for Siya Kolisi, 53rd minute)
He brought some energy on the field and showed his strength and speed with some strong carries.

22 Kwagga Smith (On for Jasper Wiese, 48th minute)
He was a menace at the breakdowns and he produced a great counter ruck 57th minute. He also got some good metres with his four carries in the second half.

23 Cobus Reinach (On for Faf de Klerk, 75th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

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