Player ratings: Still champions
OPINION: South Africa showed why they remain the world’s top-ranked team, beating Argentina 32-12 in the opening round of the Rugby Championship.
Flawless it was not.
However, scoring three tries without reply means they are in the running to successfully defend the crown they won in 2019 – before COVID-19 tournament last year’s tournament into a Tri-Nations.
Jan de Koning rates the South African players!
15 Damian Willemse
It was not his best day at the office – with a handling error, conceding a turnover with selfish play and then conceding a penalty for playing an opponent in the air. Although he eventually settled down, it was decidedly average.
14 Sibusiso Nkosi
The ball did not flow his way, but he looked for work and chased hard. Also missed several tackles.
13 Jesse Kriel
He did not get many chances with the ball in hand in a game where kicking was the dominant factor. Did manage to beat one defender in his four carries and made all but one of his tackles.
12 Frans Steyn
Carried with purpose and made some good metres at times. Was generally good on defence, had one monster touch finder and won a turnover. However, – goal-kicking not good, as he missing both his shots at goal.
11 Aphelele Fassi
Had a few handy runs, making 30-odd metres with four runs, beating two defenders and made two clean breaks. Was also very good in the air, although his defence requires some work.
10 Elton Jantjies
His game management was from the top shelve and one sublime cross-field kick set up the Aphelele Fassi try. His defence was general great and while he made the odd error, it was a applaudable performance.
9 Cobus Reinach
Scored the opening try when he picked up a stray pass and sprinted more than 60 metres. Gave good service from the base and his out-of-hand kicking was also VERY good value to the team. Missed a few tackles, but also won a great turnover.
8 Jasper Wiese
Not flawless, but without doubt his best performance in the Green and Gold – earning him our Man of the Match award. He had some strong carries and made good metres – 40-odd from 12 carries. Made seven tackles and was solid on the restarts.
7 Albertus Smith
Worked hard on defence, making a match-high 21 tackles without slipping any. He conceded penalty at the breakdown early in the second half.
6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain)
There can be no doubt that his form has improved as the year progressed. Made nine tackles and won a turnover. Missed just one tackle and conceded one penalty.
5 Lodewyk de Jager
Carried six times for little reward, but made 19 tackles, won five line-outs and stole one on the opposition throw. Missed just two tackles.
4 Eben Etzebeth
Another industrious performance by the lock, who had a handful of carries for little reward. However, he made 10 tackles without slipping any and even chased and regathered a high bomb that set up the play resulting in the Fassi try.
3 Wilco Louw
Exerted some great pressure in the scrums and made plenty of tackles. However, he also conceded a couple of silly offside penalties.
2 Joseph Dweba
He may not have got any rewards for his handful of carries, but he stayed busy and won a great penalty turnover. Made most of his tackles.
1 Retshegofaditswe Nché
Hard-working on defence, taking his tackle count into double figures – slipping just one. Was also very solid in the scrums and had a couple of decent carries.
16 Malcolm Marx (on for Dweba, 44 mins)
Not his best day at the office. Started with a tray throw and then cost his team a try when he went crawling along the ground with the ball in hand.
17 Trevor Nyakane (on for Nche, 52 mins)
Solid in the scrums, but otherwise very quiet. Not the impact the coach would have wanted.
18 Vincent Koch (on for Louw, 44 mins)
Mad all his tackles, but conceded scrum penalty and made no impact with the ball in hand.
19 Marvin Orie (on for Etzebeth, 68 mins)
Not enough time to be rated.
20 Marco van Staden (on for Kolisi, 54 mins)
Made all his tackles and had a few decent carries. One of the more industrious replacements.
21 Dan du Preez (on for Wiese, 62 mins)
Had two strong carries, made all his tackles and worked hard off the ball.
22 Jaden Hendrikse (on for Reinach, 72 mins)
Try on debut and conceded an obstruction penalty, but not enough time to be rated.
23 Morné Steyn (on for Jantjies, 72 mins)
Not enough time to be rated.