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Springboks player ratings vs Argentina | 2023 Rugby Championship

By Ian Cameron
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 29: Eben Etzebeth of the Springbok during The Rugby Championship match between South Africa and Argentina at Emirates Airline Park on July 29, 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Springboks player ratings: In a physical and scrappy encounter at the Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, the Springboks secured a hard-fought victory against a resilient Argentine side.

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After a turgid start, the Springboks exhibited a blend of power and accuracy that eventually saw them emerge victorious with a scoreline of 22-21.

Here’s how we rated the Springboks players.

15. Willie le Roux – 5
Le Roux’s performance was marred by a series of fumbles and errors, detracting from the positives he brought to the game. Despite flashes of good play, some inconsistent ball-handling let him down here. Launched some scintillating counter-attacks that kept the opposition on their toes. His wildly oscillating test form continues.

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14. Cheslin Kolbe  – 6
Kolbe struggled to make an impact in the first half due to limited opportunities. However, his abilities were somewhat more evident in the second half when he finally had the chance to show a bit more, even if it was mostly in defence.

13. Jesse Kriel – 6
A bright outing here from Jesse Kriel, maybe the forgotten force of the South African midfield.  Proved a reliable presence in the backline and showed he still has the ability to crack defences with a turn of pace.

12. Damian de Allende – 7
De Allende was a determined force in the Bok midfield, his brute strength keeping the South African defensive line from buckling. Somehow found himself at the back of a maul, scoring a try an unlikely try after 26 minutes. Blotted his copybook with a silly known-down in the 72nd minute.

11. Kurt-Lee Arendse – 5.5
Kurt-Lee Arendse made the most of his limited opportunities on the wing. Although not as involved in attack as some of his teammates, he showcased his ability as an effective kick-chaser and worked hard off the ball.

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10. Manie Libbok  – 7.5
Despite his limited international experience, Libbok showed some maturity in directing the team’s play in Jo’burg. His kicking from hand was accurate, and he slotted a couple of important penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking. Took his try well, despite limited opportunity in the second 40.

9. Grant Williams – NA
Sadly knocked out cold with barely a minute on the clock after a charge down that was adjudged to be a rugby incident. Replaced by Faf de Klerk.

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8. Duane Vermeulen – 7
Led by example, making some bone-crunching tackles and carries. The ageing warrior showed he’s still got plenty to offer in the physicality stakes.

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit – 7
Was ever-present at the breakdown and tackled his heart out with 19 to his name by the time whistle was blown. While his work rate was commendable, he struggled to make much of a dent in attack against the Puma’s doughty defence.

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6. Marco van Staden – 6.5
An industrious performance from Van Staden, who put in some big hits and made some valuable contributions at the coalface.

5. Marvin Orie – 5.5
Bit of a mixed bag from Orie who had his share of errors. With that said he had a steady game in the second row, providing a solid Springbok lineout option and making his presence felt in the tight exchanges.

4. Eben Etzebeth – 8.5
After a relatively quiet shift last weekend, Etzebeth was back to his best here. The towering Bok icon brought his trademark physicality to the game and led the charge with ball in hand. His sheer power and aggression were influential in turning the tide in South Africa’s favour after a slow start for the home side. Trampled Juan Imhoff on the way to a 5-pointer in the 19th minute.

3. Frans Malherbe – 6.5
A couple of handling errors aside, Malherbe held his own in the scrums and put in a decent shift around the park. Showed good work rate and determination in defence before being replaced.

2. Malcolm Marx – 8
In a rare start, the Kubota Spears hooker was a standout performer, displaying his prowess in both set pieces and open play with some bullish runs. His lineout throws were straight and true. The calls from the stands for more regular starts will not dampen off the back of this performance.

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1. Steven Kitshoff – 8
The Ulster-bound Kitshoff showcased his scrummaging skills, providing his stability in the front row. Eeked out valuable metres for the Springboks in the loose and a crucial turnover in the 52-minute shows just how effective a test operator he’s become.

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16. Bongi Mbonambi – 7
Mbonambi added some value off the bench, the Sharks forward making some key tackles and carrying effectively when given the chance. Got over the ball well.

17. Trevor Nyakane – 6
Although he hasn’t played a great deal of Test rugby since leaving for Racing 92, he did bring his usual power to the scrums, providing stability to the set-piece when he came on.

18. Vincent Koch – 6
Vincent Koch’s work rate was commendable and was got through plenty of defensive toil.

19. Kwagga Smith – 7
The Shizuoka Blue Revs back row’s energy was infectious, and he made some eye-catching runs and important tackles during his time on the field.

20. RG Snyman – 6
Snyman looked a little off the pace in fitness towards the end of the game, having added some ballast to the South African forward pack after being brought after 46 minutes.

21. Faf de Klerk – 8
De Klerk injected his usual pace and intensity when he entered the game with just 3 minutes on the clock, and showcased his leg speed with a telling break from a ruck that brought the Boks 20 metres downfield just before the break. Has been criticised recently but this was a solid outing for the veteran.

22. Lukhanyo Am – 7.5
Lukhanyo Am’s impact off the bench was impressive, even if he was ‘feeding off scraps’ at times. He brought some creativity and vim to the backline.

23 – Damian Willemse – NA

 

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