After a competitive first half, the Springboks eventually overpowered Japan to book their place in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup. JOHN GOLIATH rates the Boks’ performance in the quarter-final.
Willie le Roux 5
Had a few good moments in the second half that earned him an extra point. But the Springbok fullback generally was poor against Japan. Dropped a simple pass when the Boks had space on the outside and looked shaky under the high ball. Also butchered a try-scoring pass in the second half.
Cheslin Kolbe 7
Didn’t get a lot of space to operate in, but showed his strength and determination. Defended like a champion and anticipated nicely on Japan tried to exploit the space with diagonal kicks on the outside. His work at the breakdowns in the wide areas is underrated.
Lukhanyo Am 6
A mix bag from the Springbok outside centre. He should have given the ball to Mapimpi in space earlier in the first half before trying to make a difficult offload, while he also lacked a bit of composure when he intercepted a ball deep in the Boks 22 in the first half. But he defended well again and slowed the ball down at the breakdown.
Damian de Allende 8
The penalty that went against him in the first half is debatable, while he also dropped a ball after breaking the line. But other than than he had another massive outing in the green and gold. His carrying was powerful, while his work on defence and at the breakdown was phenomenal. A big player for the Boks.
Makazole Mapimpi 8
The finisher! This is a guy for the big occasion and a player who just needs some decent ball to show his worth. He still had a lot of work to do for both his tries, and finished them off brilliantly. His defensive work was also very good.
Handre Pollard 6
The Boks play off scrumhalf, it was clear for all to see. So in that framework Pollard doesn’t make a lot of key decisions. But some of the options he took were good, while he also played a big part in Mapimpi’s second try.
Faf de Klerk 6
Was named the official Man of the Match, mainly for his defensive work and tenacity in slowing down Japan’s ball. But, if we are honest, he didn’t have the greatest all-round outing. Obviously, he is playing under instructions in terms of his options from the base of the ruck, but his box kicks are still poor while his distribution was also average. Did score the try which made the game safe for the Boks.
Duane Vermeulen 6
Made a number of big hits in the trenches, while he also marshaled the troops well when captain Siya Kolisi left the field following Tendai Mtawarira’s yellow card. Would have loved to see him get more ball to run with. He can be destructive off the back of the scrum.
Pieter-Steph du Toit 6
The pace of the game seemed to get to the star Bok flank in the first half. Missed a few tackles, but came back strongly when the Boks started to take control in the second stanza. Made a crucial lineout steal in the second half.
Siya Kolisi 8
A captain’s innings when the Boks needed their leader to stand up and be counted. Kolisi has regained and fitness and was all over the park during the 72 minutes when he was on the park. He tackled everything that moved when the Boks were under pressure and hit so many rucks to either protect the ball or fight for the ball on the ground. Also made the rip which led to Mapimpi’s second try.
Lood de Jager 7
Definitely the form lock in the Boks’ set-up. Worked his socks and carried and tackled with a lot of gusto. Also operated the Bok lineout well, while he played a key role in the maul gaining momentum throughout the encounter.
Eben Etzebeth 6
The Bok enforcer did a lot of hard work in the trenches and was also a key component in the Boks’ maul. Japan employed the chop tackle which saw his carrying ability negated. Had one ball ripped from his grasp, which must be a first.
Frans Malherbe 6
The Bok tighthead may feel a bit hard done by after putting in an awesome scrum performance without getting a lot of reward during his time on the park. Had a decent game around the field, and pounced on a couple of loose balls.
Bongi Mbonambi 6
Went off shortly after the break with what looked like a groin injury. Had to do a lot of tackling in the first half, and also did his primary job well.
Tendai Mtawaira 6
Cost the Boks three points with a bit of a brain explosion when he was penalised for a tip tackle. But he made up for it with some top play around the park, while he dominated his opposite number at scrum time.
Malcolm Marx 7
Came on for Mbonambi early in the second half. His work-rate was really good and his work at the maul was good. Broke away and set up Faf de Klerk try with a lovely offload late in the second half.
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