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Player Ratings: South Africa

OPINION: The Springboks produced one of their finest performances under Jacques Nienaber to edge France 29-28 in their World Cup quarterfinal in Saint-Denis on Sunday.


In a scintillating game, the Boks showed great composure in the last quarter with the experienced players driving them to victory.

Check out the Player Ratings below:

15 Damian Willemse
His defensive game was solid at the back and his kicks out of hand weren’t too bad as well. He didn’t get much ball to work with on attack, but when he had it, he certainly kept the French defenders on their toes.

14 Kurt–Lee Arendse
He scored a great opportunistic try in the eighth minute. He was also great under the high ball which put the French under constant pressure. You only have to look at his great take under the high ball in the 55th minute for an example of his pedigree.

13 Jesse Kriel
It was arguably his best performance in a Bok jersey. He was a force on attack and defence. It was his great grubber kick that sent Cheslin Kolbe away for a try. He also produced two huge defensive plays in the first five minutes of the second half which stifled the French attack. Kriel was just everywhere on the field and was one of the driving forces behind the win.

12 Damian de Allende
The big man was a powerhouse again in the midfield and he started and finished a try-scoring play in the 18th minute. He also produced a great kick and chase to put Antoine Dupont under pressure in the 65th minute, which was a key play in the game. One big aspect of his game was his defence in the midfield and on a few occasions he manhandled Jonathan Danty.


11 Cheslin Kolbe
He was just pure class in that backline. He produced an incredible run to charge down Thomas Ramos’ conversion attempt in the 23rd minute and it proved to be vital if you look at that final score. He showed great speed to chase down the ball after a grubber kick to score a try in the first half. The pocket rocket had another great run in the 58th minute when he weaved his way through the French defence. He made a whopping 126 metres with his seven carries.

10 Manie Libbok
He put the French under immense pressure with a few high balls. The French did look a bit nervy when he ran at them. On defence, he missed several tackles, but it was not all bad news as he stopped the momentum most of the time especially with Jonathan Danty running in his channel.

9 Cobus Reinach
It was his high ball that led to Kurt-Lee Arendse’s try in the eighth minute. He also showed his vision with a short little pass to Damian de Allende for a try. Some of his kicks out of hand were a little wayward, but his speed to the rucks was impressive and that’s why he was given the No.9 jersey. Maybe he should have stayed on the field longer.

8 Duane Vermeulen
The veteran had a few powerful carries in the first half and he got his side over the gain line on a few occasions. He stood his ground on defence like he always does. He just didn’t have that physical dominance that was a key feature of his game a few years ago, but there was enough there to give the French a few headaches. He also played most of the second half as a flank after a flurry of changes.


7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
The big man was hanging in those wide channels and it was a masterstroke by the Bok coaches. He constantly disrupted the French under the high ball. He also carried the ball more than any other Bok forward and he made some metres as well.

6 Siya Kolisi (captain)
Besides a few chats with the referee, it was a very quiet outing for the Bok captain. He put in a few big hits on defence, but he was virtually non-existent on attack.

5 Franco Mostert
He put in a huge shift on defence and he was the leading defender when he left the field with 14 tackles to his name. He only had a few carries with not much yardage.

4 Eben Etzebeth
It was a masterclass by the big man. He rattled the French and Dupont at the breakdown on a few occasions and he got a hand in between passes to stop a certain try in the opening minutes. He showed his sheer power to score a great try in the 67th minute, which was another key moment in the game. He got a yellow card for a head-on-head collision, but it was just an accident.

3 Frans Malherbe
The big prop put in a huge shift out there. He was immovable in the scrums once again and he won a great scrum penalty in the 38th minute. He was also one of his team’s top defenders out there.

2 Bongi Mbonambi
The man played like there was no tomorrow and he was out there for a long time after his cover, Deon Fourie, replaced Siya Kolisi earlier in the game. His line-out throwing was good and put in some big hits on defence as well. The Bok coaching team will want to give him enough time to recover ahead of Saturday’s semifinal against England.

1 Steven Kitshoff
He will be kicking himself for giving away three penalties while he was on the field. He was solid in the scrums, but he didn’t get any dominance over his opponent. The former Stormers captain also missed a few tackles, but he made up for it by being a nuisance at the breakdown.


16 Deon Fourie (On for Siya Kolisi, 46th minute)
He was aggressive and he was in his opponents’ faces at every single opportunity he got.

17 Ox Nche (On for Steven Kitshoff, 51st minute)
Gave away a penalty in his first scrum on the field. However, he made up for it with a powerful scrum in the 59th minute which led to a penalty for his team. After that, he put his opponent under constant pressure in the set-piece and he was a monster with his tackling.

18 Vincent Koch (On for Frans Malherbe, 63rd minute)
It was a solid performance in the scrums by the replacement.

19 RG Snyman (On for Franco Mostert, 45th minute)
He had a few good jumps in the line-out and added some power to the pack when he came on.

20 Kwagga Smith (On for Duane Vermeulen, 51st minute)
He was like a tornado out there. He forced a penalty at the breakdown in the 68th minute and played like a man possessed with ball in hand.

21 Faf de Klerk (On for Cobus Reinach, 45th minute)
He wasn’t as fast as Reinach in open play, but he did enough to help his team secure the win. Some of his decision-making at the base of the ruck was not the best.

22 Handre Pollard (On for Manie Libbok, 45th minute)
He played a key role in that momentum shift in the final quarter and he just provided some more assuredness on the field. He missed a few tackles, but his great penalty kick from inside his own half in the 69th minute was vital.

23 Willie le Roux (On for Damian Willemse, 51st minute)
he had a couple of good runs, but the Bok coaches might have been hoping for more of an impact from the veteran.


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