SARugbymag.co.za editor SIMON BORCHARDT rates the Springboks after their 29-26 win against France.
15. Willie le Roux – 5
Le Roux was below average by his standards. He shot out of the Bok defensive line in the 31st minute, which allowed France to break away, failed to take a high ball early in the second half, and his try-scoring pass to Aphiwe Dyantyi in the 82nd minute went forward. He did, however, give a beautiful pass to Cheslin Kolbe in the final quarter that almost resulted in a try for the replacement wing. According to ESPN’s stats, the fullback made 23m from five runs, completed a tackle and missed one.
14. S’bu Nkosi – 6
Nkosi produced a mixed bag during his 56 minutes on the field. The wing shot out of the Bok defensive line early on in the match, but won possession for his team late in the half after a good chase from a restart. His failure to collect a French high ball early in the second half resulted in a try to Mathieu Bastareaud, but the Bok immediately made amends when he picked up the loose ball from the restart to score a try. He made just two runs with ball in hand, but completed all five of his tackles.
13. Jesse Kriel – 7
Kriel made the joint-most runs for the Boks (10), along with Duane Vermeulen, gaining 37m. On defence, he made five tackles and missed one. A solid performance from the outside centre.
12. Damian de Allende – 5
De Allende had a disappointing night on defence, missing three of his eight tackle attempts. With ball in hand, he made just 6m from three runs. The Boks will be hoping for him to make a bigger impact against Scotland next Saturday.
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi – 5
The World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year nominee did well to take an early high ball, but couldn’t collect a crosskick on the half-hour mark. He looked to have scored a match-winning try for the Boks when he dived over in the left-hand corner, but Le Roux’s pass had gone forward. On defence, he made three tackles, but missed two.
10. Handré Pollard – 8
Pollard produced a flawless goal-kicking performance in Paris, slotting two conversions and five penalties for a 19-point haul. He first went past the 300-point mark in Test rugby and then past Naas Botha’s tally to become the Boks’ fourth-highest Test point-scorer. Pollard attacked the advantage line well, making 26m from seven runs, and was solid on defence. He did make a couple of mistakes, though, including a late forward pass to Kriel inside the Bok 22.
9. Faf de Klerk – 6
De Klerk kicked 18 times in Paris. His first box kick went too far, which allowed Maxime Médard to counter-attack, but he was more accurate later on, which allowed the Bok chasers to tackle the French fullback. De Klerk also put in a good kick behind the French defence in the 55th minute when the Boks were playing for territory. His service to his backs was crisp as usual, but he would have been disappointed when, after taking a quick penalty tap, his pass failed to find Cheslin Kolbe on the blindside and went into touch. De Klerk had six runs and completed three of his four tackles.
8. Warren Whiteley – 5
Whiteley was substituted after 49 minutes, during which time he made just 2m from two runs and conceded a turnover. On defence, he made six tackles and missed one. It wouldn’t have escaped coach Rassie Erasmus’ attention that the Bok back row was far more balanced after Whiteley left the field.
7. Duane Vermeulen – 7
Vermeulen spent 49 minutes on the blindside flank before moving to No 8. Along with Kriel, he made the most runs for the Boks in the match (10), gaining 26m. He made six tackles, while missing two, and won a breakdown penalty in the 51st minute that resulted in three points for Pollard.
6. Siya Kolisi – 5
Kolisi was again substituted relatively early (for the captain of the team), this time in the 67th minute. He conceded a couple of penalties – for not rolling away after making a tackle and playing the ball from an offside position – but completed 10 of his 12 tackles. He carried the ball on four occasions to gain a total of 3m.
5. Franco Mostert – 6
Mostert secured all eight of the Bok lineout throws that came to him (his primary job) and carried the ball six times, losing the ball in contact early on in the match. He made seven tackles, but missed three.
4. Pieter-Steph du Toit – 8
Du Toit spent 49 minutes of the match in the second row before moving to blindside flank. It was his tackle at a restart that resulted in Nkosi’s try. He also made a good tackle that resulted in Vermeulen’s steal and three points for Pollard, and it was his pressure at the breakdown that earned the Boks a scrum at the end of the third quarter. Du Toit made a match-high 16 tackles, while missing four.
3. Frans Malherbe – 7
In his 59 minutes of game time, Malherbe scrummed well, carried the ball on four occasions and made all 12 of his tackles.
2. Malcolm Marx – 7
Marx put his poor performance at Twickenham behind him with a good all-round effort in Paris. The Boks won all 10 of their lineouts during the 73 minutes he was on the field. The hooker made a good run in the 62nd minute after being put into space and completed eight tackles, while missing just one.
1. Steven Kitshoff – 7
Kitshoff did his job at scrum time and got involved on attack and defence, carrying the ball seven times and making all seven of his tackles. He left the field in the 62nd minute.
16. Bongi Mbonambi – 8
A substitute who got just seven minutes of game time normally wouldn’t get a rating. But for Mbonambi, who won all six of his lineouts and scored the match-winning try from a lineout driving maul in the 85th minute, we’ll make an exception.
17. Thomas du Toit – 7
Du Toit replaced Kitshoff in the 62nd minute. He was good up front, carried the ball on a couple of occasions and completed all three of his tackles.
18. Vincent Koch – 7
Koch replaced Malherbe in the 59th minute and went on to carry the ball twice and complete three tackles, without missing one.
19. RG Snyman – 6
Snyman entered the game in the 49th minute. He was penalised for accidental offside in the 63rd minute and lost possession in the 78th when the Boks were pushing hard for a match-winning try. However, he did win two lineouts and make all three of his tackles.
20. Francois Louw – 8
Louw, who came on in the 67th minute, won a crucial breakdown penalty for the Boks 5m from their tryline when the game looked to be lost. It allowed the visitors to get up to the other end of the field and score a match-winning try. The flank also made a couple of tackles.
21. Embrose Papier – no rating
As the Boks’ only unused substitute, poor Papier just picked up more splinters in Paris.
22. Elton Jantjies – 7
Jantjies got 13 minutes off the bench at flyhalf, with Pollard moving to 12. His penalty kick to the line that didn’t find touch in the 80th minute fortunately didn’t prove costly for the Boks, who got a lineout anyway, and he kicked an excellent touch-finder from a penalty in the 81st minute to set up a Bok lineout 5m from the French tryline. Jantjies had one run and wasn’t required to make a tackle.
23. Cheslin Kolbe – 6
Kolbe, who replaced Nkosi in the 56th minute, appeared to have scored a brilliant try when he cut inside past Antoine Dupont and dived over the line. Unfortunately, though, he lost the ball in the (high) tackle, with France lucky not to concede a penalty try. Still, Kolbe made 43m from two runs, and a tackle.
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP Photo