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South Africa player ratings vs Scotland | Rugby World Cup 2023

By Daniel Gallan
Kurt-Lee Arendse of South Africa celebrates with RG Snyman of South Africa after scoring his team's second try during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Scotland at Stade Velodrome on September 10, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

South Africa player ratings: It wasn’t perfect. Far from it. The scrum and line-out misfired as much as it worked and the backline appeared one dimensional for large parts of the contest. However, when they found their groove they sparkled. Some dazzling attacks will be remembered more than the spluttering moves and dropped balls. Powerful on defence with some meaty carries from the heavies. Job done. That’s all they’ll care about.


15 – Damian Willemse – 8
Solid at the back when playing at fullback, creative when stepping up at first receiver, composed under pressure and electric when put through in space. This was hardly a perfect show but it does confirm his credentials and importance in this backline.

14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse – 8 
Scored a worldie of a try but it was his defensive work that stood out. Did not take a step backwards against the much larger Duhan van der Merwe and kept him quiet all day. A small man with an enormous spirit.

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13 – Jesse Kriel – 7
Relatively quiet with ball in hand but his primary task was to direct the rush defence and there are few better in the world at that. South Africa’s line speed was terrifying and Kriel’s instructions could be heard from high up in the press gantry. Instrumental to this win. Should be noted that he might have seen red for a high shot on Jack Dempsey. The replays were pretty damning as it was a clear head-to-head hit.

12 – Damian de Allende – 6
A tricky one to score. His 70 metres made in the carry is second only to Cheslin Kolbe and would suggest he had a huge impact on the game. His physicality can’t be ignored and his abrasiveness at the line certainly provided go-forward ball. It’s just that it felt a little same too often without much point of difference. On the one occasion he was unleashed from a different angle he spilled the ball. A solid, if unspectacular performance.


11 – Cheslin Kolbe – 7
Typically elusive, he carried for 115 metres and danced his way round four defenders. Should have passed for support runners when he made a dazzling break up field but who would have bet against him scoring a solo stunner at that point? He stuck to his defensive duties well and prevented a 50:22 after a raking kick from Finn Russell. Relentless in the kick-chase as well. A fine show from one of the crowd’s favourites.

10 – Manie Libbok – 8
If we were scoring him on what he did with ball in hand he’d be getting a 10, not least for his cross-field kick to set up Arendse’s try. Once again showed what an eye for space and timing he has. His passing is electric and he picked his moments to carry himself. Finn Russell was not the only magician wearing 10 out there.


However, we must factor in Libbok’s goal kicking and this remains a problem. He missed a relative sitter when the score was still locked at 0-0 and failed to even reach the poles with a long distance shove. That looked to dent his confidence. From the tee at least. It certainly didn’t stop him from playing ball. How he’s managed now could determine South Africa’s campaign. Subbed for Wille le Roux on 68 minutes.

9 – Faf de Klerk – 7
Zippy and energetic, you’d expect nothing less from the man winning his 50th cap. Made the occasional poor decision, especially with the rolling maul in the first half, but was otherwise solid. Kept the ball spiralling out to his backs and kicked well from the base of the ruck. Made way for Grant Williams with six minutes from full-time.

Springboks player ratings
Steven Kitshoff – PA

1 – Steven Kitshoff – 5
Conceded a penalty in the scrum, which left him incredulous after the fact. For whatever reason the Springboks scrum didn’t fire as it normally does. Replaced by Ox Nche on 53 minutes


2 – Malcom Marx – 6
An odd game for the burly hooker. Stole a ball but spilled up a few in contact. Had a stop-start match as he needed constant attention to a bloody gash on his head. Eventually and permanently replaced by Bongi Mbonambi on 53 minutes.

3 – Frans Malherbe – 4
A poor game by the scrummaging machine. Perhaps his worst show by his high standards. Gave away two scrum penalties which must rank as one of his most disappointing returns in a Boks jersey. He’ll be back. Hooked for Trevor Nyakane on 53 minutes.

4 – Eben Etzebeth – 5 
Caused problems for Ben White when he charged down the Scotland scrum-half’s box kick and carried with ferocity when he got the chance. But he trudged off after just 25 minutes and didn’t look happy about it. An injured shoulder is the word from the camp. Replaced by RG Snyman.

5 – Franco Mostert – 7
The highest tackling South African with 11 hits made. He was a constant disruptor of the Scottish line-out and was ever present at the ruck. A solid game from a man in top form.

6 – Siya Kolisi – 6
Busy in the trams and stepped up to steal a few handy turnovers. A commendable show from the South African skipper. That potential tournament ending injury now feels like a lifetime ago. Exchanged for Marco van Staden on 65 minutes.

7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit – 9
Sensational. The best player in the world when he plays like that. Hyperbolic maybe, but put yourself in the shoes of a Test fly-half and consider what life must be like every time you look up and see this blonde man mountain tearing after you. Tackled anything that moved and harassed Scotland’s backline to the point that it looked like a shadow of itself. Brilliant. Do that six more times and the Boks will have a serious shot at another World Cup.

22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
Avg. Points Scored

8 – Jasper Wiese – 5
Mostly anonymous at the back of the scrum. The stats say that the carried 38 metres but it’s hard to recall a single one. Swapped out for Duane Vermuelen just before the hour.

16 – Bongi Mbonambi – 7
Showing his value as a leader whenever Kolisi leaves the field. Led the scrum up front and added grunt when asked to carry or tackle. Another strong performance.

17 – Ox Nche – 8
An immediate impact off the bench. Once he joined the party the Scottish scrum crumbled.

18 – Trevor Nyakane – 8
Like Nche, brought a newfound zeal and punch to the Springboks scrum. Both substitutes made a strong case to start against Ireland.

19 – RG Snyman – 7
Brought on earlier than expected, he played a leading role in making a mess of the Scottish line-out in the second half.

20 – Marco van Staden – 6
Solid, without doing anything spectacular. More than happy to get the basics right.

21 – Duane Vermeulen – 7
Improved on the work done by the man he replaced. Surely, even at his age, he is South Africa’s leading No. 8

22 – Grant Williams – 7
A zipping, breathtaking run almost ended in a wonder try. Once the game broke open he was the catalyst of many counter attacks.

23 – Willie le Roux – 6
Failed to set up a try, which has become a trademark of his, but added some calmness when he made his way to the pitch.


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Rupert 305 days ago

It's remarkable how player ratings vary from pundit to pundit. We need an aggregator to get some semblance of reality.

Shaylen 306 days ago

Jasper ran hard at the line, gained meters, effected a turnover and played a solid game. Think he at least deserves a seven. I get that he is a polarizing figure and is finding it hard to live up to Duanes legacy however he doesnt deserve bad ratings when he plays fairly well

Lawrence 306 days ago

Jasper Wiese and Siya both deserve a 7 at the very least relative to other player ratings. Don't think you watched the game properly.

Snash 306 days ago

Thought Sous (Franco) better than 7 while Scots dipping after engaging, Ox fixed that, or Scottish fatigue. In fact Sous made the most tackles for South Africa and the joint most of anyone along with Jack Dempsey (11), including 1 dominant tackle.

Bob Marler 306 days ago

It’s official. These player ratings are a joke!

England beat a miserable
Looking Argentina team without scoring a try. 10s and 9s galore.

The Scottish pack couldn’t win a lineout or a scrum if they were uncontested. Yet ratings are closer to the bok pack.

Either Daniel didn’t watch the game tonight or he is having a laugh after too many beers.

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