Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Springbok player ratings in Auckland Test

There were few Bok players who made a big impact or impression in a disappointing showing in Auckland.

The All Blacks beat the Springboks 35-20 in a Rugby Championship match at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday.

The Boks fell 20-3 behind at half-time after a slow start, but hit back in the second period with three tries; the All Blacks scored four.

Here is how The Citizen rated the performance of the Boks.

Willie le Roux 5: It was an up-and-down performance by the veteran; he missed a few tackles that proved costly, but kicked well and threw a good pass for Cheslin Kolbe’s try. Not as assured as he was last week against the Wallabies.

Cheslin Kolbe 7: The little winger was good throughout. He scored a great try and nearly got a second (but for the TMO to rule no-try), he tackled strongly for the most part, but also slipped a few. Kicked well at goal.

Lukhanyo Am 5: It was a second average performance by the star midfielder. He just didn’t get going, as he failed to spark the attack and was under pressure defensively. He will hope to regain top form soon.

Damian de Allende 5: He carried the ball strongly on occasion and made some good metres, his tackling was below his usual high standard, and he knocked the ball on badly once.

Makazole Mapimpi 4: The veteran tried hard to get involved, but things just didn’t go his way, which has been the case for a while now. Struggled somewhat in defence and under the high ball and battled to make an impression in attack.

Damian Willemse 5: He looked out of sorts at flyhalf, maybe because he hasn’t played 10 in a while. Was under early pressure and failed to give direction or control. But he recovered later on, but not his best, most accomplished outing.

Faf de Klerk 5: His service was generally snappy and he was decent in getting to the rucks quickly, though he also went missing on occasion. His kicking wasn’t the greatest – he missed a simple touch finder on one occasion – and he slipped a number of tackles.

Jasper Wiese 6: He made a low, sluggish start, like all his team-mates, and fell off a few tackles, which proved costly. He righted himself as the game went on and carried strongly, but not the performance he would have been looking for.

Franco Mostert 4: For a player who thrives, and excels, on work-rate and energy this was a game where the No 7 went missing. He didn’t make nearly as many tackles as normal and didn’t carry enough ball either; one of his poorer games for the Boks.

Kwagga Smith 6: Like always, he busied himself around the field, got stuck in at times, but was out-played on the ground and didn’t make an impact as a ball-carrier. He did score a try at the death, but not a commanding performance.

Kwagga Smith
Kwagga Smith goes over for a try. Picture: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Lood de Jager 4: The veteran star usually carries the ball regularly and well, but he just didn’t get into this game. He made a few tackles, missed a few and gave away a silly penalty for a neck roll with Boks on the attack. Not a great outing.

Eben Etzebeth 6: Not an easy outing for the stand-in skipper. He made a few big hits, but didn’t get the go-forward like he normally does, and wasn’t the kind of presence he normally is either. Did well in the lineouts, but that’s about all.

Frans Malherbe 6: He scrummed well, like he normally does, and he busied himself in open play, making a few tackles, but he also missed a few. A tough day in the office, as it was for all the Boks.

Bongi Mbonambi 4: His lineout throwing was better than last week, but he was quiet for the rest of the time. He missed a number of tackles and didn’t get stuck in, like he normally does; a quiet outing in general.

Steven Kitshoff 6: He scrummed decently and tried hard to make an impact, busying himself in defence and at the breakdowns. The usual solid effort by the loosehead.

Bench 7: The “bomb squad” made their impact in the second period, but it was always going to be a big ask to turn the game around, after such a slow start. Malcolm Marx was the best of the bunch and must start next time, while RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen also made an impact. Grant Williams also tried hard to spark something and now deserves a start as well.

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