The Springboks clinched the Rugby Championship title with a convincing win over Argentina. JOHN GOLIATH rates the Boks following their triumph in Salta.
Willie le Roux 6
Le Roux is still not quite at his best after another subdued performance against Argentina. To be fair, the Boks aren’t properly executing in getting the ball to the wide areas, and he hasn’t had a lot of space to operate in.
Cheslin Kolbe 8
Another fantastic outing for the Springboks’ pocket-rocket. Worked his socks off chasing kicks and making tackles, while he also showed his awareness and pace to finish off a try in the second half. Looked more than comfortable when required to play scrumhalf when Faf de Klerk was yellow carded.
Lukhanyo Am 6
Wasn’t as good as he was in Wellington, but still played a key part in the Boks’ defensive structure. Managed to disrupt Argentina’s attacks, but also missed a few tackles. Didn’t get a lot of chances to create space or run with the ball.
Damian de Allende 8
Properly silenced his critics with a display of power and finesse in Salta. Showed some lovely soft hands when collecting an awkward pass close to Los Pumas’ tryline, but was also a menace at the breakdown with his ferocious counter-rucking and competing for the ball on the ground.
Makazole Mapimpi 7
Made a couple of mistakes early on, but really came into the game in the second half when the ball started traveling his way. Made a good break, before showing his tremendous speed and finishing ability to score a try late in the match.
Handre Pollard 9
The Springboks’ general is heading into the World Cup in the form of his life. His 31 points against Argentina featured two tries after he backed himself to score from close range. He also kicked well, and defended his channel superbly. Needs to back himself more in the opponents’ 22 with ball in hand.
Faf de Klerk 6
His tactical kicking was a bit erratic today, with a few good ones mixed in between a couple of shockers. His service was generally good, but let himself down a couple of times with his timing when going for the ball on the opposition side. One of those penalties led to a yellow card when the Boks were fighting to protect their line.
Duane Vermeulen 8
The Springboks needed a big game from their captain and Vermeulen led from the the front. Was really solid and assured when collecting kick-offs, while he made more than a few metres every time he carried the ball. Also did some great work at the breakdown.
Pieter-Steph du Toit 8
The blindside flank will hopefully get a well-deserved break next weekend following another whole-hearted display in Salta. Set up Kolbe’s try with wonderful support play and a lovely basketball pass. Made a lot tackles and also carried well.
Kwagga Smith 7
Did well to protect the Boks’ ball when Los Pumas tried to flood the Boks’ breakdown. Also made a few crucial interceptions and does cover a lot of ground around the park. Has he done enough to earn a World Cup spot? Possibly.
Franco Mostert 8
Mostert made the most carries of any Springbok player and put in another energetic display. He even showed some gas when he was ghosting towards the tryline. He remains one of the Springboks’ key players in the engine room, as he also made plenty of tackles.
Eben Etzebeth 7
Managed to escape a sanction or two for jumping into a couple of tackles. But besides that, the Stormers lock put in a powerful display, especially when it came to stopping Argentina’s maul and their big runners around the fringes.
Trevor Nyakane 9
Nyakane’s transformation from loosehead to tighthead is now complete, after he produced one of the all-time great front-row performances in the Springbok jersey. Nyakane scrummed the Pumas into the ground, but also made a staggering 15 tackles during the match. That is insane for the No 3. Add his explosive carrying to the mix, and it was truly a legendary display.
Bongi Mbonambi 8
Mbonambi’s ability in the scrum often goes unnoticed, but he is a key figure in the front row for the Boks. His lineout throwing was very good in Salta, but it was his work around the park that earned him the high mark. Cleaned out well and carried the ball with a lot of venom.
Tendai Mtawarira 8
The Beast was all over his opposite number in the scrum like a bad rash. South Africa’s most capped prop showed that he isn’t worried about the young guns breathing down his neck. Scrummed really well in tandem with Nyakane and Bonambi, and also carried and tackled with a lot of aggression.
Steven Kitshoff 8
The Stormers loosehead prop continued where Mtawarira left off in the scrum, but also bulldozed Argentina with ball in hand. He is also a very underrated player when it comes to poaching the ball on the ground.
Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau via BackpagePix