The Springboks produced their best performance of the World Cup to down England in the final. JOHN GOLIATH rates the triumphant Boks following their 32-12 win.
Willie le Roux 8
Match of the year for the Bok fullback! And what a time to produce the goods. Was as solid as a rock under the high ball, with his kicking excellent. But, because the Boks attacked with a lot more verve, he came into the game and even made a top linebreak.
Cheslin Kolbe 8
He only needed one chance to show why he is now one of the world’s best players. Didn’t get a lot chances with ball in hand, but he put in another great shift on defence and his positional play was good. But it was his lethal finishing that sealed the deal for the Boks.
Lukhanyo Am 8
Dropped a pass early on, but then delivered a masterclass in outside-centre play. Had few opportunities with ball in hand, and made the most of them with some silky moves. He started the move that led to Makazole Mapimpi’s try, before following up the chip ahead and then offloading to the winger to score. Wonderful game on defence as well.
Damian de Allende 7
Another big performance by South Africa’s best player at this World Cup. England knew what was coming in the vacuum, but he still carried strong and targeted George Ford and Owen Farrell. Was also also very good in defence and at the breakdown.
Makazole Mapimpi 8
This guy didn’t put a foot wrong. He chased kicks and competed for the ball in the air, winning a couple and also earning a penalty. But it was his little break and chip ahead before receiving the scoring pass that made it comfortable for the Boks. Magnificent.
Handre Pollard 7
Missed a simple penalty early on and also missed touch from a penalty that led to an England score. But other than that, he kicked well from the tee and really asked questions of the England defence when he took the ball to the line. Also the best defender at flyhalf in the world.
Faf de Klerk 8
Forget the gameplan, the mocking videos and the memes, this kid is the heartbeat of the Bok team. He knows how to control the tempo of the game, while his box kicking was simply superb. The Boks have won three World Cups, and all them featured a world-class No 9. Tenacious defenders too.
Duane Vermeulen 9
Thor! Vermeulen brought the thunder and the lightning. He was unstoppable with ball in hand, while he tackled and cleaned out anything that moved. Controlled the ball well at the back of a dominant scrum, but it was his work at the breakdown, winning the ball, that gave him the Man-of-the-Match award.
Pieter-Steph du Toit 7
Another world-class performance by South Africa’s workhorse. Made 11 tackles and missed only one. Carried well and his presence also prevented England from going for tail ball at the lineout, which gives them that attacking platform. You can see why he was nominated as one of the best players in the world this year.
Siya Kolisi 7
Unsung hero. His role in this team is not flash, but he neutralised England’s back row. Tom Curry and Sam Underhill were absolutely nowhere, because he cleaned out so many rucks like the world champion he is. Made 12 tackles in an hour without missing a single one – the fourth most in the game. Salute!
Lood de Jager 7
So good when he was on the park, as he carried and tackled like a berserker. Unfortunately he suffered a shoulder injury, which cut short his World Cup final.
Eben Etzebeth 8
Probably his best performance of the World Cup as well. Made 13 tackles, and used his power to hit the English back behind the advantage line. Was an absolute beast at lineout time, as he competed hard in front of the lineout.
Frans Malherbe 8
The silent assassin. My goodness! This guy also gets a lot of flack – I don’t know why – but he is the best tighthead on the planet. Nobody scrums like this guy, while he does his job around the park. He made 10 tackles in just over 40 minutes. That’s just insane for a tighthead.
Bongi Mbonambi 7
Also had a top outing before he went off the field with a head knock. Didn’t miss a lineout and also scrummed like a champion.
Tendai Mtawarira 8
This could be the send-off to cap all send-offs. This is likely to be the veteran prop’s last match in the green-and-gold jersey, but he came out and just scrummed England into the ground. He also made eight tackles in just over 40 minutes. He will go out as a Bok legend.
Franco Mostert 8
The whole bench played well, but Mostert came on in the first half and was simply incredible. He made 16 tackles in just under an hour. He also carried with a lot of venom, while he protected the Bok ball on attack. What a time to stand up and be counted.