DURBAN - The Springboks came within three minutes of beating the All Blacks in Townsville, losing to a late Jordie Barrett penalty. It was obviously a vast improvement for the South Africans after their horror showings against the Wallabies. Mike Greenaway rates the players.
SPRINGBOK PLAYER RATINGS
15 Willie le Roux (6): He was hesitant on defence and right at the death of the match, with his team in the lead, he did not release in the tackle to give Barrett the shot at winning the match.
14 Sbu Nkosi (6): His work rate off the ball is always good and that meant he was in a position to gather the ball from a Faf de Klerk hoist into the All Blacks 22 and score. He can be over-eager, though, and his yellow card for a deliberate knock-down was silly.
13 Lukhanyo Am (7): The little ball that he did get he showed nice touches while his defence was rock solid. It is a pity that he did get any real opportunities to attack.
12 Damian de Allende (7): His defence was nothing short of excellent. He carried strongly as always but like, Am did not get enough opportunities to attack.
11 Makazola Mapimpi (5): He has a tendency to give penalties away at rucks and in the air, and sometimes it seems he doesn’t have a full grasp of the rules, such as when he gave a penalty away for coming in from the side and sealing of the ball at a breakdown.
10 Handre Pollard (4): He missed an easy conversion of Nkosi’s try which in the context of a tight game was crucial but his biggest sin was poor game management at vital times, such as kicking the ball away when the Boks had momentum. A prime example was when he kicked when the Boks had the All Blacks back-pedalling, and then the kick went dead over the goal line. A positive was much-improved tackling.
9 Faf de Klerk (7): I understand that the Boks are playing to a plan but there are also occasions when the game drivers have to use instinct and pass the ball and not kick. One of his up and unders was pinpoint, though, and led to Nkosi’s try. Faf tackled like a terrier and was tenacious in general play.
8 Duane Vermeulen (7): He is getting back to his best form and won an important penalty over the ball at a ruck. He gave away penalty for a collision in the air but generally had a decent game.
7 Kwagga Smith (8): His selection was a controversial one but he silenced the critics with a performance that was as tireless as it was effective. He won a few penalties and overall made a nuisance of himself all over the park.
6 Siya Kolisi (9): The captain came in for fair criticism after under-par performances against the Wallabies but he responded by being the best Bok on the pitch. He carried strongly, counter-rucked with venom and tackled ceaselessly.
5 Lood de Jager (8): He ran the lineouts intelligently and personally stole two of the All Blacks’ throws. He worked industriously in the tight loose.
4 Eben Etzebeth (7): He missed an important tackle on Codie Taylor that led to the All Blacks’ try and gave away a penalty in stopping a maul but countered this by taking one of the All Blacks’ lineouts and worked ferociously in all aspects of forward play.
3 Frans Malherbe (8): Did his job in the set scums impressively as always. He gave Joe Moody a tough time and also had a few strong carries.
2 Bongi Mbonambi (6): He had a fair game without standing out too much and was substituted at halftime so he did not have that much opportunity to impress.
1 Trevor Nyakane (7): He had some good carries and scrummed solidly but also did not get alot of game time before being replaced by Steven Kitshoff.
Malcolm Marx (8): He came on at halftime and straight away was good with accurate lineout throws-ins under pressure on the Bok line. He was a menace in the loose as usual
Steven Kitshoff (8): His scrumming was awesome and he gave his all in the loose.
Vincent Koch (8): He came onto the field in the 63rd minute and immediately won a scrum penalty. His scrumming was exceptional.
Franco Mostert (6): He came on early in the second half and as is the norm with him, he gave everything but sadly it was his spilled pass right at then of the game that gave the All Blacks the chance to kick the ball into touch and win the game
Marco van Staden (9): He came on in the 63rd minute and could not have made a bigger impact. He carried the ball powerfully and in one break he made 30m up the centre of the field.