The Springboks started off their Rugby Championship campaign with a bonus-point victory over Australia at Ellis Park. JOHN GOLIATH rates the victorious South Africans.
Warrick Gelant 6/10
Kicked turnover ball into touch in the opening minutes, while his positional play wasn’t great in the first half. However, came back strongly in the second stanza and made a few darting runs. Nice support play and offload in S’bu Nkosi’s try.
S’bu Nkosi 7
Nkosi is a proper predator and showed his finishing ability with his try in the second half. Has really sharpened up his game when competing for the high ball. Would probably have wanted some more ball to show his quality.
Jesse Kriel 6
Didn’t get a lot of chances or to showcase his unbelievable running ability, but asked a few questions of the Wallabies on attack. Probably didn’t marshal the Boks’ defence in the wide areas as well as he wanted to as the outside centre.
Andre Esterhuizen 5
It was a bit of mixed bag from the Sharks centre. Esterhuizen defended well in his channel, and showed a lovely pair of hands in the lead-up to Herschel Jantjies’ first try. However, he wasn’t quite in sync with flyhalf Elton Jantjies and also got a yellow card for a high tackle.
Makazole Mapimpi 6
Didn’t get a lot of space to show his finishing ability, but hardly put a foot wrong with ball in hand. Chased well when required to and didn’t shirk his defensive duties when the big Australian backs ran down his channel.
Elton Jantjies 7
The flyhalf made use of the crisp service from debutant Herschel Jantjies and managed the game nicely, especially in the second half. Kicked well from the tee and missed only one long-range attempt at goal. Also kicked well out of hand.
Herschel Jantjies 9
A nine for South Africa’s new star No 9! What a debut for the 23-year-old Stormers player, who looked like he has been playing international rugby for 10 years. Took his tries very well, especially his second score, which showed his vision and awareness. His service was superb and he kicked well out of hand. He also tackled the big boys when he needed to.
Francois Louw 8
There was a bit of worry about the Boks’ ability to compete at the breakdown against the likes of Michael Hooper. But ‘Flo’ played to the ball and always fought hard on the ground and slowed down the Wallabies’ ball. His turnover led to Jantjies’ first try.
Pieter-Steph du Toit 7
This man is a machine. Indefatigable. Du Toit was all over the park, carrying, tackling, linking up and even breaking the line and chipping over would-be defenders. Just another fantastic outing for one of the world’s best players.
Rynhardt Elstadt 5
The big flank wasn’t quite at his best, but had a solid Test debut and did the dirty work on defence and attack. Played a big role in Nkosi’s try with a lovely offload. However, he isn’t quick enough to be the Boks’ No 6.
Lood de Jager 7
De Jager had only played one Currie Cup game leading up to the Test after injury, but showed little signs of rust. His work rate was outstanding, while he also scored a crucial try in the first half. Only going to get better with more game time.
Eben Etzebeth 7
The Springbok captain made all the right calls on the night and led the team beautifully in the absence of Siya Kolisi. Was massive with ball in hand and gained a lot of valuable metres for the Boks. Needs to be a bigger factor in the Boks’ maul, though.
Trevor Nyakane 7
Nyakane continued where he left off in Vodacom Super Rugby with another polished performance at tighthead. He scrummed really well and had a decent outing around the park. The Boks are blessed with a number of top props.
Bongi Mbonambi 6
Missed his jumper with his first lineout throw, but was steady after that. Mbonambi is a great operator in the scrum and played a big part in the Boks’ dominance. Also did well around the park after recently coming back from injury.
Beast Mtawarira 7
South Africa’s veteran prop put in a powerful performance at scrum time and was all over Sekope Kepu from the first set piece to his last, which resulted in a penalty for the Springboks. Made a few good runs with ball in hand.
Notable substitute: Frans Steyn 7
Looked really hungry to impress when he came onto the park. Made a few strong runs into the heart of the of Australian team’s defence, which gave the Boks a lot of go-forward in the final quarter.
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