SARugbymag.co.za editor SIMON BORCHARDT rates the Springbok players out of 10 after their win against the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.
Having beaten the All Blacks 36-34 two weeks ago despite having just 25% of the possession and 21% of the territory, the Boks beat the Wallabies at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium despite having just 43% of the possession and 35% of the territory.
The Boks had to make 235 tackles in Wellington and they had to make another 146 in PE (compared to the Wallabies’ 77).
As Rassie Erasmus himself said after the match, this wasn’t the greatest performance from the Boks, but what matters is that they won.
15. Willie le Roux – 7
Le Roux couldn’t find Aphiwe Dyantyi with a long pass in the 11th minute, but it was his long pass to Handré Pollard in the 15th, close to his tryline, that sparked a Bok counter-attack. He was harshly penalised in the 24th minute when trying to intercept a pass – the officials ruled he wasn’t in a position to do so – and couldn’t hold on to a Cheslin Kolbe tap-back late in the first half. He finished the game with four carries, two tackles from as many attempts, and just one kick from hand.
14. Cheslin Kolbe – 7
Kolbe made 50m from seven runs, which included two clean breaks. In the 14th minute, he took the ball at first receiver from a scrum, but David Pocock’s intervention saw him penalised for holding on. Kolbe did well to collect a crosskick from Pollard at the end of the first quarter, and made a great tackle on Dane Haylett-Petty soon after. However, Kolbe couldn’t do more than ankle-tap Marika Koroibete, who put Will Genia away for a try, and missed five tackles in all. He did make nine, though.
13. Jesse Kriel – 6
Kriel’s long pass to Kolbe went over Israel Folau’s out-stretched hand and into touch in the ninth minute. Just after half-time, his clever grubber through the defence just went into touch before Dyantyi could get to it. Kriel made four carries and seven good tackles, but he did miss four.
12. André Esterhuizen – 6
Esterhuizen made a strong run in the 12th minute, but became Pocock’s second victim of the match when he went to ground. He then dropped a pass from Le Roux, before making a big hit on Haylett-Petty. The inside centre would make 13 tackles in total, while missing two, and six carries. However, he didn’t deliver a performance that would have convinced Rassie Erasmus to give him the No 12 jersey on a permanent basis.
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi – 8
It took the wing just 23 seconds of this match to score his sixth Test try when he intercepted Kurtley Beale’s pass close to the Wallabies line. He couldn’t hang on to Le Roux’s long pass in the 11th minute, but did well to take a high ball in the 20th. While Dyantyi was outjumped by Israel Folau in the second half close to the Bok line, he made a brilliant tackle on Reece Hodge at the end of the third quarter. The wing paid the price for a string of team penalties when he was yellow-carded for a ruck infringement in the 65th minute, but the Boks didn’t concede any points while he was off the field.
10. Handré Pollard – 8
Pollard was successful with all five of his goal kicks – two conversions and three penalties. In the 19th minute, his pin-point crosskick found Kolbe on the right wing, and a minute later, he took the ball to the line, beat two defenders, and put Faf de Klerk away for his side’s second try. Pollard will be disappointed that he kicked a penalty over the deadball line late in the game, but pleased with his 80-minute performance.
9. Faf de Klerk – 7
It was the pressure applied by De Klerk that led to Dyantyi’s try and the scrumhalf then scored one himself in the 20th minute after being put away by Pollard. However, he did mistime a couple of box kicks, one of which resulted in Genia’s try, and made five tackles, while missing two. Erasmus was pleased with his performance, though, as he played the full 80 minutes.
8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe – 6
In his first Test start, Notshe carried the ball up for the Boks from a couple of Wallabies restarts, but didn’t make much of an impression on attack. However, he did make 10 tackles during his 45 minutes on the field, missing just one.
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit – 9
Three months ago, the debate about whether Du Toit should play lock or flank was still raging. However, after his outstanding performances in Wellington and Port Elizabeth, there is no doubt that he belongs at blindside flank for the Boks. The official Man of the Match carried the ball strongly, but it was on defence where he was the most influential, making 17 tackles from 19 attempts and winning a turnover.
6. Siya Kolisi (c) – 8
This was one of Kolisi’s best games for the Boks, and he must have been close to winning the Man of the Match award. The captain set the tone for his team with a big tackle in the first few seconds of the game, and played a big part in a Bok counter-attack in the 15th minute. Good work from him through the middle of a ruck forced a turnover on the stroke of half-time. Kolisi moved to No 8 from the 45th minute when Marco van Staden replaced Notshe, and he made two crucial tackles late in the game.
5. Franco Mostert – 7
Mostert smashed Haylett-Petty early in the game, and went on to make 15 of his 16 tackle attempts. He also made a vital lineout steal just after Dyantyi had been yellow-carded.
4. Eben Etzebeth – 7
Etzebeth was unable to secure an early Bok lineout, but he won the rest of his balls and stole a Wallabies throw in the 52nd minute. He also made eight carries and eight tackles, without missing one. He left the field in the 76th minute.
3. Frans Malherbe – 7
Malherbe scrummed well and completed all eight of his tackles. He didn’t get to make a carry, though, before being substituted in the 63rd minute.
2. Malcolm Marx – 7
Marx lost his first lineout early in the match, but was on target from then on. He did well to force a turnover early in the second half, although the Boks lost the ball shortly after. The hooker made 14 tackles, without missing one, and three carries. He was substituted with 10 minutes to go.
1. Beast Mtawarira – 7
The veteran prop was given 43 minutes, before being replaced by Steven Kitshoff. During that time, he held his own at the scrum, and made four carries and five tackles, without missing one.
16. Bongi Mbonambi – no rating
Only came on in the 70th minute.
17. Stephen Kitshoff – 7
Replaced Mtawarira in the 43rd minute. Scrummed well and made a crucial ruck steal in the 67th minute when the Wallabies were on the attack.
18. Wilco Louw – 6
Came on the 63rd minute. Conceded a scrum penalty in the 73rd minute, the first of the game.
19. RG Snyman – no rating
Only came on in the 76th minute.
20. Marco van Staden – 6
Van Staden replaced Notshe in the 45th minute, but went to openside flank to counter Pocock. He made three tackles, but no turnovers, and carried the ball twice.
21. Embrose Papier – no rating
22. Elton Jantjies – no rating
23. Damian Willemse – no rating
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images