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Player ratings: South Africa

OPINION: If Auckland was disappointing, Ellis Park was the real wake-up call.


It was neither convincing nor impressive, as South Africa hung on desperately for a nailbiting 22-21 win at Ellis Park.

The positives are the win and finishing second in the Rugby Championships.

As has become customary, it was defence that won it for the Springboks – often blunting attacks and winning turnovers.

However, the negatives are the poor discipline, the unforced errors and the general scrappy play.

Jan de Koning rates the South African players!

15 Willie le Roux
Solid at the back. Good clearance kicks and again showed his value as a playmaker. However, his hands let him down on occasion.


14 Cheslin Kolbe
Great chasing of kicks and eve more crucial chase back to save the team minutes from full-time. Made all his tackles, but conceded a couple of turnovers.

13 Jesse Kriel
Charged down attempted clearance, but just could not control to score try. Made a few impressive runs and his 12 tackles put him in the top three for the team.

12 Damian de Allende
A rock on defence, with some good reads. Even scored a maul try. However, spoiled an otherwise impressive performance with a late yellow card.

11 Kurt-Lee Arendse
Got caught on the wrong side of the tackle on occasion. Missed a couple of tackles but scrambled well. Not as effective as usual with his carries.


10 Manie Libbok
It was certainly not flawless, but he put down another marker to be the Boks’ starting No.10. Not perfect off the kicking-T, but his out-of-hand kicking is improving in leaps and bounds.

9 Grant Williams
Took a big hit from Juan Cruz Mallia from the opening kick-off and taken off after being knocked out cold. Never returned.

8 Duane Vermeulen (captain)
His energy levels belied his age. His seven carries, some bursting through the blue Argentinean wall, saw him clock up over 60 metres. His tackle count also went into double digits.

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
Not flawless, but some hard work on defence – his 20 tackles a match high. Had a hand-full of carries and some solid work around the rucks.

6 Marco van Staden
Great workrate on defence – which is where he was most effective. Went quiet at times

5 Marvin Orie
His basics were not good enough, but worked hard on defence and made eight tackles. Subbed early in the second half.

4 Eben Etzebeth
Powerful carries, including scoring the Boks’ opening try. More energy than he showed against the All Blacks, which is understandable – considering the events in the build-up to the Auckland outing. His `15 tackles were also right up there.

3 Frans Malherbe
Hands let him down on occasion and his workrate was below par. Was solid in the scrums.

2 Malcolm Marx
Great work at the breakdown and some strong carries. Won some crucial turnovers. Did not get much value out of his nine carries, but often tied up two or more defenders.

1 Steven Kitshoff
Solid in the scrums and big on defence – even winning crucial a penalty turnover close to his line.


16 Bongi Mbonambi (on for Marx, 58th min)
Worked hard on defence and made a couple of important tackles. Otherwise, not the impact that was expected.

17 Trevor Nyakane (on for Kitshoff, 58th min)
Made a couple of decent carries and worked really hard on defence. An acceptable cameo.

18 Vincent Koch (on for Malherbe, 58th min)
No value from his two carries and made seven tackles. Solid in the scrums.

19 Kwagga Smith (on for Van Staden, 56th min)
Made an immediate impact with a turnover inside his own 22 and looked busy, but also conceded an unnecessary penalty at the tackle. His 14 tackles in 20-odd minutes showed his impressive workrate.

20 RG Snyman (on for Orie, 45th min)
Showed his impressive offloading skills and worked really hard at the breakdown. Also a significant contribution to the second-half defensive effort by the Boks.

21 Faf de Klerk (on for Williams, 1st min)
Not all his kicks were on point, but varied his game and asked some good questions of the opposition. His basics were solid and there were some very impressive clearance kicks. Also made some impressive defensive reads and hits.

22 Lukhanyo Am (on for Arendse, 53rd min)
Made a couple of impressive defensive reads, but also missed a crucial tackle. He needs more game time in a settle team.

23 Damian Willemse (on for Le Roux, 78th min)
Not enough time to be rated.



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