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Springboks player ratings vs All Blacks | Rugby World Cup 2023

By Daniel Gallan
Pieter-Steph Du Toit of South Africa celebrates following the team's victory during the Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and South Africa at Stade de France on October 28, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

South Africa are world champions for a record fourth time. It wasn’t pretty. There were large chunks of the match when it looked like they’d bottled a golden opportunity. But they got there in the end as worthy winners of the grandest prize with a 12-11 win over the All Blacks.

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Here’s how the players rated:

15 – Damian Willemse – 8

Mostly secure in the back field, he also led the game for metres made with ball in hand. Kicked well, except when he made a weak attempt at a drop-goal that dribbled under the poles. Sharp footwork, as always, and had a hand when stepping up at second receiver on occasion. Subbed for Wille le Roux after the hour mark.

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14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse – 8

Produced a try saving tackle when he managed to wrestle down a galloping Ardie Savea in the corner. Missed a chance to score a try himself, but he only got in that position thanks to smart work and electric heals. A worthy champion and a sensational find for Springboks rugby.

13 – Jesse Kriel – 7.5

Once again exploded out the line to become the lead gunner in the rush defence. It’s his positional awareness that is so commendable.

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12 – Damian de Allende – 7

Tidy distribution and busting carries. This wasn’t a blockbuster show but it ticked enough boxes.

11 – Cheslin Kolbe – 8

Linked up well when joining the line at second receiver and was a threat whenever he touched the ball/. Chased high kicks like a terrier off a lead at the park. And once he got there, he gave much larger players a tough time in the air.

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10 – Handre Pollard – 8.5

A solid performance. Robust in the tackle and also when he took it to the line himself. Ice cold when slotting his shots at goal. Distributed well with some zipping passes but it was his control that shone when it mattered most.

9 – Faf de Klerk – 9

Controlled the rhythm of the match throughout the first half. Struggled a touch in the second when the tempo shifted and New Zealand began to gain the ascendency, but still kept his composure when things got messy. Gets a bonus point for unfurling an old school dive-pass.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
4
1
Tries
0
0
Conversions
0
0
Drop Goals
0
149
Carries
85
7
Line Breaks
4
19
Turnovers Lost
9
2
Turnovers Won
7

1 – Steven Kitshoff – 8

Played his part around the fringe, producing a great steal that gave Pollard a shot at goal and also cleared out with a couple thundering hits at the ruck. Replaced by Ox Nche on 52 minutes.

2 – Bongi Mbonambi – N/A

Left the field after copping a cruel blow from Shannon Frizell as the New Zealand flank crunched his knee after entering from the side of a ruck. After the week he had, it was hard not to feel for him. Replaced after just four minutes for Deon Fourie.

3 – Frans Malherbe – 7

Some strong carries and solid in the scrum. Under pressure at set-piece but held his own with authority, as he has throughout the tournament. Subbed for Trevor Nyakane on 66 minutes.

4 – Eben Etzebeth – 8

Huge carries in tight spaces and a constant nuisance at New Zealand’s line-out. An important presence at close quarters and helped save a try when he managed to knock the ball out of Ardie Savea’s hand moments before New Zealand dotted down the corner. With seven forwards on the bench he was never going to go the distance and replaced by Jean Kleyn on 58 minutes.

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5 – Franco Mostert – 7

Yet again made every single tackle without missing one. A perfect record of 16 out of 16. Added great grunt to South Africa’s engine. Ran out of gas and was subbed for RG Snyman on 52 minutes.

6 – Siya Kolisi – 6

Was instrumental in leading the energy on defence when play broke open, and contributed in the wider channels on attack. He loses points for copping a yellow card for a high shot, and for not passing when a kind bounce of the ball created space down the right. Had he done so South Africa would haves surely scored and likely have put the game to bed early in the second half.

7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit – 10

Simply immense. If there was ever a player who was hell bent on leaving the jersey in a better place than he found it, it was this man. Made 14 tackles in the first half alone and added another 14 in the second. Clattered anything that came his way wearing a black jersey and contributed with some lovely touches in the trams. A monstrous performance from one of the greatest Springboks of all time.

8 – Duane Vermeulen – 8

In what could well be his final match – nothing is confirmed at the time of writing – he produced the goods. Seemed to attract the ball on restarts and ranging long kicks as if he had a gravitational pull of his own. And once he had the ball in his iron grip, he charged into contact, almost always busting over the gainline. Switched for the extra fizz of Kwagga Smith on 58 minutes.

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Replacements
16 – Deon Fourie – 7

Would have scored an eight or higher had he found his radar at the line-out. Still, he was a menace on the floor and provided some important tackles, not least when Frizzell stormed through a half gap and threatened to score. Deserves immense credit for playing 76 minutes of a World Cup final against the All Blacks in his second position.

17 – Ox Nche – 8

Couldn’t replicate his scrum dominance from the semi-finals but proved he’s more than just a battering ram in the set-piece. Was excellent in the loose with stiff carries and blitz defence.

18 – Trevor Nyakane – 7

Stood firm under pressure at the death in what was the most important scrum of his life. After missing out on the World Cup through injury four years ago, it was heartwarming to see him celebrate at the final whistle.

19 – Jean Kleyn – 8

Kept the furnace burning and provided heft around the fringe when the game threatened to break away from South Africa.

20 – RG Snyman – 7

Brought another dimension to South Africa’s line-out, even though he wasn’t found by Fourie. Kept hammering the tight spaces.

21 – Kwagga Smith – 8

An almighty steal as he ripped the ball from Will Jordan just as New Zealand’s machine was spluttering into life. A wonderful asset to the Springboks’ cause.

22 – Jasper Wiese – N/A

Made all four tackles that he was assigned. Added grunt over the ball.

23 – Willie le Roux – 7

Sparked a few backline moves but was on the pitch to provide stability.

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Comments

24 Comments
C
CT 232 days ago

What a team best in the world No1 world champions

G
Guy 232 days ago

They still haven't signed the anti-doping convention? Perhaps in 2028…

J
Jon 232 days ago

Quality send-off for Duane, Siya, Eben, Faf, Kitzie, ad Frans - couldn’t ask for more - time for a partial rebuild - is Rassie staying?

W
Willie 232 days ago

Moan, groan, do what you like ,scoreboard 12-11 to the best team in the world.

s
strachan 233 days ago

PDT was a beast gone rogue. Well done Boks it's for all of South Africa

m
maty 233 days ago

Ben Smith can write what he wants now, Boks have proved they are up there with the greatest teams of all time. Don’t get me wrong, the all blacks are still the no.1 (not accounting for their obvious socio economic advantages) but the Boks have proved against all odds they are a team of the ages. World Cup x 2 plus Lions series when they had no home advantage or prep.

m
maty 233 days ago

Ben Smith hahahaha

w
wayne 233 days ago

World champions! Moan about any result as much as you want, you can’t take that away, and it’s not a fluke or due to poor ref decisions. Bathe in the glory bokke! You guys rock!

C
Chris 233 days ago

Suzie strikes yet again 🤣😂 better keep our chefs out of your kitchen!! 🤣😂😂😂🥲🤣🤣

k
kiwi 233 days ago

They left out SA most dominant player…..
Wayne Barnes 11 out of 10
😂😂

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