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Player Ratings: The one that got away

OPINION: The Springboks will be kicking themselves after they fell to a 16-19 defeat to Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.


The Springboks were guilty of not converting several opportunities into points when they were in the home side’s half and there will also be question marks around the decision not to enter the match with a recognised goal-kicker.

Here are the Player Ratings:

15 Cheslin Kolbe
He had a very quiet first half and he spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin for a tip tackle. He came to life in the second half with a couple of good runs. He missed a couple of kicks at goal, but he is not really known for his goal-kicking.

14 Kurt-Lee Arendse
He had a couple of touches with ball in hand during the match with most of his workload coming on defence. He did put in some good tackles but he also missed a few out wide. He was replaced in the 53rd minute, but he came back on the field in the 64th minute for Mapimpi and he scored a late try after a fantastic offload by Eben Etzebeth.

13 Jesse Kriel
Like his midfield partner, Kriel was good at putting pressure on the Ireland attack with his rush defence. He also showed some great speed to chase the ball successfully after a neat grubber by De Allende in the 37th minute.

12 Damian de Allende
He was the best back on the field for the Springboks. He was just a hard man to bring down when he ran with momentum and got some serious metres for his team. With those carries, he also beat a few defenders. The big man also managed to put some serious pressure on Ireland’s attack with his speed off the line on defence.


11 Makazole Mapimpi
Another game where he struggled to get his hands on the ball, but he certainly was a nuisance with his defending. He disrupted the Irish attack a few times and his timing for a big hit in the 18th minute when Ireland had an overlap deep inside SA’s half was inspiring.

10 Damian Willemse
South Africa needed a general at No.10 and they didn’t get that with Willemse. His overall decision-making was poor and he couldn’t get the attack going. His kicking game was also horrendous.
He produced an awful kick at goal in the in 21st minute and a poor clearance in the second half resulted in a charge down and almost try for Ireland. He also didn’t find touch with a penalty in the 66th minute and kicked another ball out on the full in the 70th minute.

9 Jaden Hendrikse
He was just too predictable from the rucks. The Boks were one-dimensional and he will have to take a lot of the blame for that. There were also a few occasions when he seemed too slow when arriving at the ball on the ground.

8 Jasper Wiese
It was a solid performance from the Leicester Tigers man. He was one of the Boks’ busiest players on the field with his carries and he was powerful on defence as well. He also put in some great pressure at the breakdown to force a knock-on in the 14th minute deep inside the Irish half.


7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
His work rate in the first half was incredible. He carried the ball like a man possessed, but he struggled to maintain that momentum in the second half. He was also one of his team’s best defenders on the field.

6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain)
He made his presence felt at the breakdowns with his sheer power. He showed some great aggression with ball in hand and he led by example on defence as well.

5 Lodewyk de Jager
Once again, he was the main target in the line-outs for Malcolm Marx and he did well in that area. He had a couple of carries with not much success, but he defended well. He gave away a silly penalty at a ruck when his team were on the attack deep inside the Irish 22 in the 24th minute. He left the field with an injury in the 35th minute.

4 Eben Etzebeth
Another big performance from the stalwart. He put his body on the line on defence and attack. He certainly put in more tackles than anyone else in his team and he got his team over the gain line on a few occasions with ball in hand. As he has done all year, he applied plenty of pressure on Ireland’s throw-in at the line-outs. Just when you thought he was going to run out of gas, he produced a neat offload for Kurt-Lee Arendse to run in for a late try.

3 Frans Malherbe
Solid in the scrums which is his primary job. He did give away a couple of penalties and he missed a few tackles. He did leave some bruises on some of the Irish players with some aggressive carries.

2 Malcolm Marx
His line-out throwing was exceptional except for one hiccup. He wasn’t as prominent at the breakdowns as in previous games and you felt the Boks missed that. He was rock solid on defence and he made some metres with a few carries.

1 Steven Kitshoff
He was good in the scrums for most of the time he was on the field, but he did give away a cheap penalty in that area in the 44th minute. He was good in open play and he often got his side over the gain line when he carried the ball.


16 Mbongeni Mbonambi (On for Malcolm Marx, 57th minute)
He brought some physicality which rattled the Irish a bit, but there was nothing really spectacular.

17 Retshegofaditswe Nche (On for Steven Kitshoff, 57th minute)
He won a scrum penalty straight away after he came onto the field and he showed some nifty touches with ball in hand. However, he produced a shocking pass on attack in the 64th minute when his team had an overlap.

18 Vincent Koch (On for Frans Malherbe, 46th minute)
He was full of running when he came onto the field and racked up some big metres with ball in hand. His workload on defence was great as well.

19 Franco Mostert (On for Lood de Jager, 35th minute)
He is a player that always gives 100 percent and it was there for all to see again. He was outstanding on defence and he put his body on the line with ball in hand. He also kept his team in the game with a try in the 67th minute.

20 Albertus Smith (On for Jasper Wiese, 52nd minute)
He brought the energy that was needed in that final half-hour. He had a couple of fantastic runs and he produced a great turnover in the 65th minute.

21 Deon Fourie (On for Pieter-Steph du Toit, 64th minute)
Another player who brought some speed into the Boks’ game. He beat a few defenders, but he was guilty of not spreading the ball to players in better positions out wide.

22 Francois de Klerk (On for Jaden Hendrikse, 52nd minute)
He made some better decisions from the rucks and he seemed to annoy some of the Irish players when he was on the field.

23 Willie le Roux (On for Kurt-Lee Arendse, 53rd minute)
It seemed like the Bok backline woke up when he entered the game. He was at first receiver on a few occasions and that troubled the Irish defence. He also produced a great chip kick in the 66th minute which Kolbe gathered in the build-up to Mostert’s try.


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