SARugbymag.co.za editor SIMON BORCHARDT rates the Springboks after their 12-11 defeat to England at Twickenham.
15. Damian Willemse – 6
Making his first start in just his fourth Test, the 20-year-old did well to take two high balls within the opening 10 minutes. A poor pass from him near England’s 22 cost the Boks possession, but he made a good run early in the second half, stepping past three defenders to take play from near the Boks’ 22 to inside the hosts’ half. Willemse put a kick directly in touch with seven minutes to go and was substituted soon afterwards. On defence, he made two tackles and missed one, according to ESPN’s match stats.
14. S’bu Nkosi – 7
Nkosi played 60 minutes in his first Test appearance since June. He displayed his aerial skills in the 15th minute when he ran in from his wing and leapt in the air to collect Handré Pollard’s cross-kick. The wing then scored the only try of the match, in the 32nd minute, when he rounded off a rare Bok attack that didn’t end with an error. Nkosi made seven tackles, but missed three.
13. Jesse Kriel – 6
Kriel played the first 60 minutes at outside centre before moving to the right wing, where he was more threatening with ball in hand. He was relatively quiet overall, though.
12. Damian de Allende – 7
De Allende was colossal at the gainline and made 72m from 15 runs. He knocked on from a Pollard pass in the 21st minute, but followed that up with three strong runs, the last of which was in the buildup to Nkosi’s try. He also finished the game with a late break that got the Boks into England’s 22. De Allende completed eight of his nine tackles.
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi – 6
Dyantyi’s failure to take a high ball in the 18th minute resulted in an accidental offsides and three points for Owen Farrell, but his quick hands helped to put Nkosi away for his try. Dyantyi made 58m from seven runs and four tackles, while missing one.
10. Handré Pollard – 7
The look on Pollard’s face when he narrowly missed a potentially match-winning penalty in the 76th minute – the ball brushed the outside of the right-hand post – said it all. Until then, he’d had a good game, attacking the advantage line regularly (making 71m from 10 runs) and completing six of his seven tackles. He did, however, fail to find touch on a couple of occasions, which allowed England to keep the Boks under pressure.
9. Ivan van Zyl – 5
Van Zyl had mixed success with his box kicking – some gave his chasers time to compete for the ball in the air while others went too far. His passing from rucks was also too slow and the Boks missed Faf de Klerk’s quick distribution. Rassie Erasmus should have brought Embrose Papier on earlier than he did (the 75th minute).
8. Warren Whiteley – 6
Whiteley had another strong defensive game, making 12 tackles, and was involved on attack, with his quick hands putting S’bu Nkosi over for a try. He gave away a soft lineout penalty in the second half, but fortunately for him, Farrell’s penalty attempt was just short.
7. Duane Vermeulen – 6
Playing in the unfamiliar position of blindside flank (at Test level), Vermeulen carried the ball strongly, made all four of his tackles and was also good under the high ball. Erasmus must be considering moving him back to No 8, though, where he is more effective.
6. Siya Kolisi – 4
The Bok captain was substituted in the 65th minute, which says something about the game he was having. He had just three runs and lost possession from a lineout driving maul close to England’s tryline in the 25th minute. He made six tackles, but missed two. Kolisi may also regret opting to put penalties into touch during the first half when taking the three points or a scrum (especially when Maro Itoje was off the field) would have been a better option.
5. Pieter-Steph du Toit – 7
Having impressed on the blindside flank for the Boks in the Rugby Championship, Du Toit returned to the second row because of Franco Mostert’s unavailability. He failed to take an early kickoff from England and a lineout throw from Malcom Marx in the 17th minute, although that was the hooker’s fault. Du Toit stole an England lineout soon after that, but lost one in the second half. He moved to the side of the scrum in the 65th minute and finished with 14 ball-carries, while making 13 of his 14 tackles.
4. Eben Etzebeth – 7
Etzebeth was a reliable lineout option for the Boks and the threat he posed was evident by the fact that England twice took him out in the air. He was also a good ball-carrier and didn’t miss a tackle. Ironically, it was after making a tackle that the lock suffered an ankle injury that looks set to rule him out of the rest of the tour.
3. Frans Malherbe – 7
The Bok scrum was solid during the 65 minutes Malherbe was on the field. While the tighthead prop carried the ball just once, he made seven of his eight tackles.
2. Malcolm Marx – 3
A day after being nominated for the World Rugby Player of the Year award, Marx had one of his worst games in the green and gold. He knocked on the first minute and went on to lose four lineouts, including one 5m from England’s tryline after the hosts had been reduced to 14 men. He carried the ball eight times and made two tackles, while missing one.
1. Steven Kitshoff – 7
During his 65-minute stint, Kitshoff played his part in a solid Bok scrumming performance and won a scrum penalty in the 27th minute when he gave Kyle Sinckler a working over. He did lose the ball in contact early in the second half, but carried well otherwise and made all four of his tackles.
16. Bongi Mbonambi – no rating
He came on in the 74th minute when, considering Marx’s performance, he would have expected more game time.
17. Thomas du Toit – 6
Du Toit replaced Kitshoff in the 65th minute and promptly won a breakdown penalty that Pollard kicked to give the Boks an 11-9 lead. But he was penalised for a collapsed scrum in the 71st minute, which resulted in three points for England, before helping the Boks win a scrum penalty four minutes later. He carried the ball on three occasions and made one tackle.
18. Wilco Louw – 6
Louw replaced Malherbe in the 65th minute and played his part in a late scrum penalty for the Boks. He made all three of his tackles and carried the ball three times.
19. RG Snyman – 6
Snyman came on for the injured Etzebeth in the 41st minute and won his first lineout soon after. He had four runs and made five tackles, while missing two.
20. Lood de Jager – 5
De Jager got 15 minutes off the bench in his first Test appearance of 2018. He won a lineout and made a tackle, but crucially lost possession in the last minute when the Boks were on the attack. Will no doubt get better as he gets more game time.
21. Embrose Papier – no rating
Papier had a good five-minute cameo at the end of the match that made you wonder why he hadn’t been brought on earlier for Van Zyl. His service was quick and he made 32 passes in that short period.
22. Elton Jantjies – no rating
Came on with five minutes to go.
23. André Esterhuizen – 6
Esterhuizen was brought on at the end of the third quarter and made a try-saving tackle on Brad Shields. However, the centre’s game will be remembered most for being shoulder charged by Owen Farrell in the 82nd minute. It should have resulted in a penalty to the Boks and a yellow card for the England flyhalf. Instead, referee Angus Gardner blew the final whistle.