Led by Siya Kolisi, the Springboks produced a controlled and confident performance to claim a 27-9 win over the British & Irish Lions on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS picks and rates some of the top performers.
This was a statement performance from the Boks, particularly in the second half. To overturn a half-time deficit and ultimately not concede a single point in the second stanza says a lot about the character of this team.
Below, we rate some of the standout performers:
Siya Kolisi (9)
The Bok captain had a look of authority about him from the opening exchanges. He was physical on defence, and his remarkable try-saving tackle on Robbie Henshaw was a game changer just before half time. Kolisi has played some fantastic rugby in these first two Tests, proving once again he is a man for the big occasion. In the end, he made 14 tackles at a 100% success rate, and also completed 22 metres and three carries.
Lukhanyo Am (8)
All class, as is so often the case. I could probably just leave it there but, to elaborate, his ability to read the game defensively is just remarkable. His work rate is immense, and then there was his important follow-up and finish to score effectively the match-winning try.
Damian de Allende (7)
There’s nothing flashy about De Allende, but he hardly puts a foot wrong. His decision-making is superb when it comes to distributing or taking contact, and there’s very good reason why there is plenty of daylight between him and the Boks’ next-best option at inside centre.
Eben Etzebeth (7)
Often perceived to be a player who crosses the disciplinary line, Etzebeth was a bastion of controlled aggression on Saturday. He represented the Boks’ determination to resolutely refuse to take a step backwards. Particularly after the injury-enforced departure of Pieter-Steph du Toit, the Springboks needed a key member of their pack to elevate his game, and Etzebeth did just that.
Makazole Mapimpi (8)
Named the official man of the match, he was powerful on the wing, superb in his kick chase and finished off a fantastic try. Mapimpi did give away a couple penalties in the first half, but he is the sort of player who is building back to the form that made him one of the Boks’ best at the 2019 World Cup.
Honourable mentions: Steven Kitshoff enjoyed a much better game for the Boks and was key to the home side enjoying some good gains on his side of the scrum, while Lood de Jager and Trevor Nyakane’s introduction to play from the bench in the second half was of real benefit.