Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport


Springbok player ratings in 27-20 win against Ireland

The world champions delivered a gutsy showing in downing the Six Nations winners in the first of two Tests on Saturday.


The Springboks beat Ireland 27-20 in the first of two Tests, at Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria on Saturday. The second Test will take place in Durban next Saturday.

Here’s how The Citizen rated the performance of the Bok players, out of 10, at Loftus.

Willie le Roux 7: The veteran fullback was safe under the high ball, and cleaning up at the back, and he linked nicely with the backline on occasion. Didn’t put a foot wrong in a fairly quiet game.

Cheslin Kolbe 8: The little winger continues to be a superstar on the biggest stage. Showed plenty of fight carrying the ball out wide, and chased hard to pounce on James Lowe’s error to score a wonderful try.

Cheslin Kolbe
Cheslin Kolbe scores South Africa’s second try. Picture: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Jesse Kriel 8: He is getting better and better. He ran hard with the ball, drew defenders and offloaded at the right times. A huge presence in defence; solid in all departments.

Damian de Allende 8: It was another big shift from the best No 12 in the Bok squad. He carried regularly and strongly, often making many metres. Also put in some big tackles and competed at breakdowns.

Kurt-Lee Arendse 7: He didn’t get many chances to show off his skills, but he scored a great try after a stepping run out wide. Jumped well for high balls and put in his share of tackles.

Handre Pollard 6: He showed his physical side by getting stuck in at the rucks and mauls and made good tackles. His attacking game was up and down, in-game kicking was average, missed three shots at goal.

Handre Pollard
Handre Pollard had an average day with the boot. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Faf de Klerk 6: He service wasn’t as slick as always, but then he was under plenty of pressure with Ireland’s forwards on top at times. His kicking was good, could add variety to his game.

Kwagga Smith 7: Knocked the ball on from restarts on two occasions, but otherwise delivered a strong showing. Carried strongly, played linking role well and tackled hard. Got stuck in to plenty of the action.

Pieter-Steph du Toit 8: The blindside flanker just doesn’t have a bad game. He carried strongly, played a good linking role and also jumped in the lineout. But it was his tackling, again and again, that stood out.

Pieter-Steph du Toit
Pieter-Steph du Toit was all over the park on Saturday. Picture: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Siya Kolisi 7: The Bok skipper produced a solid all-round effort. He carried on a number of occasions, making good metres, and he was a big presence at the breakdowns. Also made some key tackles.

Franco Mostert 7: He continues to do the dirty work without fanfare. Was decent in the lineouts, and made several tackles, like always; his engine never slowed.

Eben Etzebeth 6: The big lock was a presence in the lineouts and in all the tight-loose exchanges, and he carried strongly on occasion, but it wasn’t one of his dominant performances.

Frans Malherbe 6: The Bok scrum struggled at times; they didn’t get the dominance they’ve achieved so often in recent times. Made some big tackles and also carried well on occasion.

Bongi Mbonambi 6: He didn’t make the impact he usually does, but then the Boks didn’t maul too often. He carried at times at close quarters, made his tackles, while the lineouts were okay, too.

Ox Nche 6: Like the rest of the front-rankers, he found the going tough at scrum time and will hope to make a bigger impact next week. Carried nicely at times and put in his hits and cleans.

Bench impact 8: Malcolm Marx won a breakdown penalty and put in a good shift, while RG Snyman carried strongly at times, getting his team over the gainline. Marco van Staden and Gerhard Steenekamp, too, got stuck in. Best moment came late in the game, when the Boks produced a monster scrum to win a penalty try. Other bench-sitters were Vincent Koch, Salmaan Moerat, Grant Williams and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

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