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Springboks player ratings vs Argentina | 2021 Rugby Championship

By Jan De Koning
Jesse Kriel confronts Santiago Carreras /Getty

Springboks player ratings: South Africa showed why they remain the world’s top-ranked team, beating Argentina 32-12 in the opening round of the Rugby Championship.


Flawless it was not.

However, scoring three tries without reply means they are in the running to successfully defend the crown they won in 2019 – before COVID-19 tournament last year’s tournament into a Tri-Nations.

Jan de Koning rates the South African players:

15 Damian Willemse – 5
It was not his best day at the office – with a handling error, conceding a turnover with selfish play and then conceding a penalty for playing an opponent in the air. Although he eventually settled down, it was decidedly average.

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14 Sibusiso Nkosi- 5
The ball did not flow his way, but he looked for work and chased hard. Also missed several tackles.

13 Jesse Kriel – 6
He did not get many chances with the ball in hand in a game where kicking was the dominant factor. Did manage to beat one defender in his four carries and made all but one of his tackles.

12 Frans Steyn – 6
Carried with purpose and made some good metres at times. Was generally good on defence, had one monster touch finder and won a turnover. However, – goal-kicking not good, as he missing both his shots at goal.

11 Aphelele Fassi – 7
Had a few handy runs, making 30-odd metres with four runs, beating two defenders and made two clean breaks. Was also very good in the air, although his defence requires some work.

Aphelele Fassi of South Africa and Jesse Kriel congratulate Cobus Reinach of South Africa during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship match between South Africa and Argentina at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

10 Elton Jantjies – 6
His game management was from the top shelve and one sublime cross-field kick set up the Aphelele Fassi try. His defence was general great and while he made the odd error, it was a applaudable performance.

9 Cobus Reinach – 7
Scored the opening try when he picked up a stray pass and sprinted more than 60 metres. Gave good service from the base and his out-of-hand kicking was also VERY good value to the team. Missed a few tackles, but also won a great turnover.

No.8  Jasper Wiese – 8
Not flawless, but without doubt his best performance in the Green and Gold – earning him our Man of the Match award. He had some strong carries and made good metres – 40-odd from 12 carries. Made seven tackles and was solid on the restarts.


7 Kwagga Smith – 7
Worked hard on defence, making a match-high 21 tackles without slipping any. He conceded penalty at the breakdown early in the second half.

6 Siyamthanda Kolisi – 6
There can be no doubt that his form has improved as the year progressed. Made nine tackles and won a turnover. Missed just one tackle and conceded one penalty.

Siya Kolisi Springboks South Africa
South Africa’s blindside flanker and captain Siya Kolisi (C) celebrates with South Africa’s wing Aphelele Fassi (R) during the Rugby Championship international rugby union Test match between South Africa and Argentina at The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (Photo by Michael Sheehan / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL SHEEHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

5 Lood de Jager – 7
Carried six times for little reward, but made 19 tackles, won five line-outs and stole one on the opposition throw. Missed just two tackles.

4 Eben Etzebeth – 6
Another industrious performance by the lock, who had a handful of carries for little reward. However, he made 10 tackles without slipping any and even chased and regathered a high bomb that set up the play resulting in the Fassi try.

3 Wilco Louw – 6
Exerted some great pressure in the scrums and made plenty of tackles. However, he also conceded a couple of silly offside penalties.

2 Joseph Dweba – 6
He may not have got any rewards for his handful of carries, but he stayed busy and won a great penalty turnover. Made most of his tackles.

1 Ox Nché – 6
Hard-working on defence, taking his tackle count into double figures – slipping just one. Was also very solid in the scrums and had a couple of decent carries.


16 Malcolm Marx – 5
Not his best day at the office. Started with a tray throw and then cost his team a try when he went crawling along the ground with the ball in hand.

17 Trevor Nyakane – 5
Solid in the scrums, but otherwise very quiet. Not the impact the coach would have wanted.

18 Vincent Koch – 5
Mad all his tackles, but conceded scrum penalty and made no impact with the ball in hand.

19 Marvin Orie – NA
Not enough time to be rated.

20 Marco van Staden – 6
Made all his tackles and had a few decent carries. One of the more industrious replacements.

21 Dan du Preez – 6
Had two strong carries, made all his tackles and worked hard off the ball.

22 Jaden Hendrikse – NA
Try on debut and conceded an obstruction penalty, but not enough time to be rated.

23 Morné Steyn – NA
Not enough time to be rated.


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finn 9 hours ago
Massive red flag raised by weakened Champions Cup teams – Andy Goode

I wonder if the problem of some teams not taking it that seriously would be helped by making performance in the champions cup count towards qualification and/or seeding in the following year’s competition. Eg. top four seeds would be winners of the URC, premiership, and top 14, plus best performing team in the previous year’s CC who have not otherwise qualified. Doing that the seedings for this years comp. would have been: Tier one: Saracens - Munster - Toulouse - la Rochelle Tier two: Sale - Stormers - Racing 92 - Leinster Tier three: Leicester - Connacht - Bordeaux - Exeter Tier four: Northampton - Ulster - Lyon - Sharks Tier five: Harlequins - Glasgow - Stade Francais - Edinburgh Tier six: Bath - Bulls - Toulon - Ospreys The competition would probably work better with fewer teams, so I’d probably favour only the first 4 tiers being invited, and then going straight to a quarter final without a round of 16. On the one hand this would possibly incentivise teams to take the champions cup seriously, and on the other it would mean that the latter stages would be more likely to involve teams that have demonstrated a willingness to take the competition seriously. The main differences between my proposed system and the actual draw is that mine would give la Rochelle a fairly easy ride to the quarters, and would either exclude the Bulls entirely or would give then an insurmountably difficult draw. As it happened Exeter got quite an easy pool draw but that was a bit of a fluke. My system would reward Exeter for being one of the teams that demonstrably devote a lot of attention to the CC by guaranteeing them a good draw.

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