Cape Town – At least the Springboks showed some heart in the second half, but a nightmare opening quarter set up a comfortable 35-20 Rugby Championship victory for the All Blacks at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday.
Here’s how we rated the South Africans’ efforts in Auckland…
Willie le Roux: 8
Kept the Bok attack ticking with some timely interventions. Basically ran at flyhalf for most of the second half, and produced a visionary long pass to create Cheslin Kolbe’s try. Missed a couple of high balls early on, but recovered well.
Cheslin Kolbe: 7
Got more influential the longer the game went on. Well-taken try from Le Roux’s pass, and was unlucky not to have scored earlier when the TMO ruled it out. Even had a go at the goal-kicking, slotting one conversion.
Lukhanyo Am: 6
Was a bit quiet in the first half when the Boks were under tremendous pressure, but managed to get his hands on the ball a bit more after that and showed some classy touches. Also enjoyed one lengthy left-foot touch-finder.
Here are the Springbok player ratings from the IOL Sport team, following South Africa's defeat to the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.#NZLvRSA— IOL Sport (@IOLsport) July 15, 2023
Story to follow. pic.twitter.com/dtOuSeTYMU
Damian de Allende: 6
Did his role well of carrying it up into the heart of the All Black defence, but he has the skills to offer so much more on attack.
Makazole Mapimpi: 3
Not a game that the Bok No 11 will want to remember. Battled to field the high ball, didn’t add much impetus with ball-in-hand and was out of position a few times in defence.
Damian Willemse: 5
Some fancy footwork and carries at times from the hot-stepper that got the Boks going forward, but wasn’t able to direct the backline around the pitch as a flyhalf, which saw Le Roux at first receiver for most of the second half.
Faf de Klerk: 6
Was his usual busy self in cover defence. Not a smooth service from the base, although the All Blacks disrupted him and the referee didn’t always protect him. Not much possession to launch box-kicks, and booted an attacking penalty into touch in-goal.
Jasper Wiese: 5
Made a powerful surge right in the first minute of the game, and never stopped trying as a carrier up the guts, while making his tackles too. But he needs to add some variety and subtlety to his game with ball-in-hand.
Franco Mostert: 3
Hardly got into the game, seemed a bit lost at No 7. Outplayed by opposite number Shannon Frizell, who was outstanding for the All Blacks.
Kwagga Smith: 5
Energetic as always on attack and used his speed well in defence, but wasn’t much of a breakdown threat as an openside flank. Added some respectability to the scoreboard with a late try when he scooped up a loose ball.
Lood de Jager: 5
Claimed a few lineouts and got involved in the tight loose, but wasn’t able to steal any All Black balls in the air and didn’t add the necessary athleticism at No 5.
Eben Etzebeth (captain): 6
A hard-working effort from the Bok skipper in what was a difficult week following the passing of his father Harry. Got stuck into the physical stuff and tried to get the maul going, but was met with fierce resistance from Brodie Retallick and company.
Frans Malherbe: 6
Was penalised in a scrum for a knee on the ground, but otherwise strong in a true battle with Ethan de Groot. Got around the pitch on attack and defence.
Bongi Mbonambi: 6
Ran hard with a few carries at close quarters, and controlled the ball well at the back of the maul. Didn’t get a real chance to put in massive tackles.
Steven Kitshoff: 7
Pulled off a few terrific breakdown contests and won crucial penalties. Was solid in the scrums and made his tackles around the fringes.
Best off the bench: Malcolm Marx: 6
Added some bite to the Bok pack, and scored a try from a driving maul.
All Blacks 35 – Tries: Aaron Smith, Shannon Frizell, Will Jordan, Richie Mo’unga. Conversions: Mo’unga (3). Penalties: Mo’unga (3).
Springboks 20 – Tries: Malcolm Marx, Cheslin Kolbe, Kwagga Smith. Conversion: Kolbe (1). Penalty: Faf de Klerk (1).