CAPE TOWN – It wasn’t plain sailing for the Springboks against the Wallabies, but they backed up the win over the All Blacks with a solid 23-12 win in Port Elizabeth.
Both teams scored two tries, but the goal-kicking of flyhalf Handré Pollard was the difference as he slotted all five shots off the tee.
We took a closer look at each Bok…
Willie le Roux: 6 out of 10
Not nearly as influential as he was in Wellington. Tried hard to come into the line in classical fullback style, but that spark just wasn’t there on the day. Had a few knock-ons too, but it was encouraging that he didn’t come into the flyhalf channel as a first receiver, allowing Handré Pollard to take charge.
Cheslin Kolbe: 6.5
Some thrilling runs with ball-in-hand, and almost always beat the first defender. Got involved wherever possible on attack, and showed real heart on defence. Will be disappointed to have missed a few tackles, though.
Jesse Kriel: 4
The Bulls centre is such an energetic presence, but his execution has let him down. Wasted a promising Bok attacking opportunity with a long pass that bounced into touch, and his grubber just had too much on it for Aphiwe Dyantyi to chase down. Ran hard at the Wallabies.
André Esterhuizen: 5.5
Honest endeavour from the big Sharks man. Fulfilled his role of “getting over the advantage line”, but he is about more than that, as he showed in Super Rugby with some deft offloads. Solid on defence, but must show his tricks on attack.
Aphiwe Dyantyi: 7.5
Brilliant read of the play for an intercept try after just 23 seconds. A serious threat when there are kicks to chase with his electric speed, and willing defender. Was caught out of position when a long Will Genia pass to allow Reece Hodge to score, and conceded a yellow card, although it came after a team warning for repeated infringements. Quickly becoming a Bok cult hero.
Handré Pollard: 8
Trademark line-break to set up Faf de Klerk’s try. Slotted three vital penalties either side of halftime – including suggesting to Siya Kolisi to go for posts at 14-12 – and was in command as the Bok general. Strong presence on defence. Can still bring a touch more variety on attack.
Faf de Klerk: 5
His box-kicks are just not working, in terms of decision-making and execution. Took his try well after the break by Pollard, but should concentrate on getting the ball into his flyhalf’s hands most of the time and breaking every now and then – instead of the other way around.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe: 6.5
Made a number of tackles to get those first-start butterflies out of the way. But he was picked for his speed across the ground, and we didn’t get to see much of that. Needed to be put into space by his fellow loose forwards, and inside backs.
Pieter-Steph du Toit: 8.5
Another powerful performance by the Stormers strongman. Hits the rucks, carries relentlessly, and chased down those Wallabies all afternoon. Yet, he’s still better suited to No 5 lock, as he just lacks that yard of pace required for a No 7.
Siya Kolisi: 7.5
The adrenaline of playing in front of his home crowd saw the Bok skipper play the full 80 minutes, and he was ever-present all around the field. Some strong runs, combined with ruthless defence, although he should’ve passed when breaking through on one occasion. Hopefully we will see that outrageous side-step again at Loftus?
Franco Mostert: 6.5
Wonderful lineout steal, and seemed busier overall than in previous Tests. Completed his usual high tackle-count, but still not a major ball-carrying factor.
Eben Etzebeth: 7.5
Excellent snatching of some poor Wallaby lineout throws, and assured on the Bok put-in. Rumbled in the tight loose, but can perhaps be used in space as well on attack.
Frans Malherbe: 6
Solid, if unspectacular. Didn’t really get the upper hand on Scott Sio in the scrums, although he didn’t come under pressure either.
Malcolm Marx: 6
Couldn’t find his jumper in one prime attacking lineout. Made the hard yards up the middle and a few rampages out wide, but didn’t make his usual dynamic impact with ball-in-hand. Well marked at the breakdowns.
Tendai Mtawarira: 5.5
Got more involved in ball-carrying, but he didn’t always make metres. Handled ‘Tongan Thor’ Taniela Tupou well in the scrums.
Best substitute: Steven Kitshoff 6.5
Not as prominent off the bench as in previous Tests, but still got around the field and contested the breakdowns.