Player Ratings: History makers
OPINION: South Africa showed some true grit to come from behind at the break once again and beat the B&I Lions 19-16 in the third Test to win the series 2-1.
There were some standout performances in the victory.
Here are the player ratings:
15 Willie le Roux
His positioning at the back is world-class and it was on display again in the third Test. He kicked well out of hand, and he of course sent Kolbe on his way for that crucial try in the second half.
14 Cheslin Kolbe
He hardly put a foot wrong all game. He scored that magical try, which helped shifted the momentum in South Africa’s favour. Once again, he was a menace under the high ball and he punched above his weight on defence. He put in a try-saving tackle on Maro Itoje.
13 Lukhanyo Am
He reads the game so well in that midfield. He had the awareness to offload that ball to Willie le Roux, which led to Cheslin Kolbe’s magnificent try. Like his midfield partner De Allende, he was solid in defence.
12 Damian de Allende
He is probably the best in his position at the moment. He got the Boks over the advantage line on a number of occasions. He is just a hard man to bring down. He was also aggressive with his tackling in the midfield, which was needed against Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw.
11 Makazole Mapimpi
Most of his work on the field involved chasing high balls and he did it well. He missed a couple of tackles, but the Boks’ cover defence made up for that. He had one good run with the ball in the entire match.
10 Handré Pollard
It was not one of his best games in a Bok jersey. He kicked away some good possession a couple of times and he was a bit predictable on attack as well. He missed some kicks at goal, but lucky Morne Steyn was on the bench.
9 Cobus Reinach
He was very predictable when distributing the ball to his backline. His distribution was also slow, which might have been part of the Boks’ game plan. However, his box kicks kept the pressure on the Lions with Kolbe and Mapimpi chasing the ball.
8 Jasper Wiese
He gave away a couple of turnovers, but he played out of his skin when it game to defensive responsibilities.
7 Franco Mostert
He certainly looked like he was in a war with blood gushing from his nose. It was a mixed bag by the forward. He put in some big hits on defence, but he also missed several tackles. He also gave away a silly penalty by shielding off one of the B&I Lions’ players during a kick and chase.
6 Siya Kolisi (captain)
He led from the front as a captain should. He tackled like a man possessed and made that crucial turnover just before the half-time break when the Lions were building momentum inside South Africa’s 22.
5 Lood de Jager
A colossus when it comes to defence. He made 16 successful tackles and missed just one while he was on the field. He didn’t get much of the ball in open play, but he did a good job in the line-outs.
4 Eben Etzebeth
He made himself a nuisance at the breakdowns. He disrupted the Lions’ game in that area and he was a massive presence in disrupting the Lions’ mauls.
3 Frans Malherbe
It was a powerful performance in the scrums by the big man. He managed to put a huge amount of pressure on his scrum opponent, and he won a few penalties. Most of his work in open play involved tackling and he was solid in that department.
2 Bongi Mbonambi
His line-out throwing was not the best in the first half, which resulted in valuable possession being lost. He was another player who struggled to impose himself in open play.
1 Steven Kitshoff
He was mostly solid in the scrums, but he did give away a couple of penalties in that department as well. He had a few carries and got his team over the gain line on a few occasions. His defensive game was outstanding – he made all his tackles.
16 Malcolm Marx (on for B Mbonambi, 56th minute)
He was part of a strong front row in the last quarter. He added some much need power up front and he knocked a few Lions players back with his tackles.
17 Trevor Nyakane (On for S Kitshoff, 61st minute)
What a series this man has had. He helped his team win a crucial scrum penalty in the 72nd minute and he was a monster in the mauls as well.
18 Vincent Koch (On for F Malherbe, 56th minute)
He was an immovable figure in the scrums. He certainly showed that in the final scrum when he helped his team win a penalty to end the game. He also made all his tackles.
19 Marco van Staden (On for S Kolisi, 56th minute)
He had a specific job to do and that was to disrupt the Lions’ ball. And he did that job well. He won a fantastic turnover in the second half.
20 Kwagga Smith (On for L De Jager, 53rd minute)
He was his team’s second-best defender after Lood de Jager. He made a whopping 15 tackles in the second half and he never missed one of them.
21 Herschel Jantjies (On for C Reinach, 64th minute)
He seemed a bit nervy in those final minutes, but he did what was expected of him when he replaced Reinach.
22 Morné Steyn (On for H Pollard, 65th minute)
He did it again. He won the series with a penalty just like he did 12 years ago. He was a calming presence on the field. He is a legend.
23 Damian Willemse (On for W Le Roux, 79th minute)
Not enough time to be rated