The All Blacks outsmarted the Springboks to record a 23-13 win in their opening World Cup clash. JOHN GOLIATH rates the Boks following another fierce Test between the two teams.
Willie le Roux 4
His poor form in 2019 continues. Le Roux was poor under the high ball, while he hasn’t been able to provide that attacking spark from the back. His terrible pass to Cheslin Kolbe in the second half probably cost the Boks a try.
Cheslin Kolbe 9
Courageous, exciting and by far the best Springbok on the park. Took an important ball out of the air in the first half, and also chased high kicks well. But it’s his attacking play that makes him such a top player. Had a few scorching runs, and was unlucky not to convert one or two chances.
Lukhanyo Am 5
Again good on defence and his anticipation plays a key role in the Boks’ structure without the ball. However, his natural attacking game suffers in South Africa’s attacking system, which is largely based on box kicks and the inside centre bashing it up. That’s why he is largely anonymous on attack.
Damian de Allende 7
De Allende managed to give the Boks a bit of momentum with his hard running. His job in the game plan is to truck it up and he does that well. But he also showed some nice touches in the second half, which needs to be used a lot more when the game opens up. Made a crucial intervention in the first half to deny Beauden Barrett a free run at the Bok tryline.
Makazole Mapimpi 5
Needed to shut down Sevu Reece in the move that led to the All Blacks’ first try. Had a few runs on attack, but again the Boks failed to create that space for him to show his blistering pace. Ran down Richie Mo’unga and took one for the team to prevent the All Blacks from scoring a try.
Handre Pollard 5
Needs to take these big matches by the scruff of the neck if he is to live up to his undoubted potential. He doesn’t control the game, because all of the Boks’ action comes from No 9. His penalty that hit the post led to a chain reaction of events that helped the All Blacks shift the momentum in the clash. Kicked a neat drop goal.
Faf de Klerk 4
De Klerk is the centre of the Springboks’ universe on attack, but ended up being a black hole against the All Blacks. His cleaning from the base and passing was terrible, with one stray pass leading to a score for the All Blacks. His box kicks were even worse, with most of them woefully short of the intended mark.
Duane Vermeulen 6
Apologies for the cliché, but it was a game of two halves for the big Bok No 8. Dropped a few high balls and was generally poor. However, he came alive in the second half, especially with ball in hand. He should have won the Boks a penalty on the ground, which could have helped them get something out of the game, but was denied by referee Jerome Garces.
Pieter-Steph du Toit 6
His try gives the Bok blindside flank an extra point as this wasn’t his greatest Test in the world. Of course, his effort was again outstanding, but he wasn’t as effective as he has been over the last couple of years. The try was a classic piece of play that got the Boks back in the contest.
Siya Kolisi 5
The Bok captain looked a couple of steps off the pace. He hasn’t played a lot of rugby since missing the last quarter of the Stormers’ Vodacom Super Rugby campaign with injury, and it showed. Didn’t do a lot wrong, but is far from his best. Was subbed after 50 minutes following a rather bland performance.
Franco Mostert 7
Mostert produced another top, workmanlike performance for the Boks. Carried well and again made a lot of tackles throughout the encounter. He was also very good at lineout time, stealing a crucial ball when the All Blacks were on attack in the Boks’ half.
Eben Etzebeth 7
The Bok enforcer carried with a lot of venom and made metres that gave the Boks some momentum. He tackled well around the fringes and executed his primary roles really well. Was a bit of surprise that he played so deep into the match, with RG Snyman waiting on the bench for 70 minutes.
Frans Malherbe 5
Was solid at scrum time in an even contest in the first half. Malherbe, though, was rather anonymous around the park. He is likely to start throughout after Trevor Nyakane’s World Cup is likely over after coming off minutes after coming on in the second half.
Malcolm Marx 7
The Bok hooker had a busy game and is starting to regain his best form. He carried really well and with a lot of power, while he was unlucky not to get a few more decisions going his way when fighting for the ball on the ground.
Steven Kitshoff 7
The loosehead prop was his busy self throughout the match. Won a penalty for the Boks with good competing at the breakdown and held his own in the scrums. He also carried well and made quite a few tackles.
Francois Louw 6
Came on the 50th minute for Kolisi. Didn’t really have the sort of impact he has made in his last couple of matches against the All Blacks.
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