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Springboks player ratings vs France | Rugby World Cup 2023

By Daniel Gallan
Jesse Kriel of South Africa looks on at full-time following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between France and South Africa at Stade de France on October 15, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Springboks player ratings: South Africa triumphed in what is surely one of the greatest games of rugby ever played. A truly sensational show that could have ended with all 46 players receiving scores of nine and above. There were some standouts in green, and some who were below par. Overall, though, every one of them stood up when it mattered.


15 – Damian Willemse – 8
Tidy in the backfield which was crucial as Antoine Dupont’s probing kicks in behind tested the South African defence. Pulled out some trademark steps when met with resistance and was solid off the boot.

14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse  – 8
Pounced on a loose ball to score a fortuitous early try and was busy throughout. Went looking for work off his wing and played a crucial hand in South Africa’s scrambling defence whenever France broke the line.

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13 – Jesse Kriel – 8.5
Often derided as a one-trick defence merchant, his try assist off the boot for Cheslin Kolbe will hopefully pour cold water on that theory. It was his trademark rush on defence, though, that earns him a high score here. One particular blitz on Damian Penaud stifled a promising move down France’s left in South Africa’s red zone.

12 – Damian de Allende – 9.5
Superb. A plundering, blistering, thundering presence in midfield with enough soft touches, including delightful grubber kicks, to keep the romantics on board. Scored a try that came after a rampage of his own making. A simply sensational show. One of, if not his best ever in green.


Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards

11 – Cheslin Kolbe – 9
You have to be pretty fast to charge down a conversion and there are few faster than South Africa’s hot-stepping winger. Wriggled through numerous tacklers when carrying back into traffic and put on the afterburners to score when Kriel nudged a grubber into space. One of the game’s standout performers.

10 – Manie Libbok – 7.5
Slotted a difficult kick early on the calm the nerves and was slick down the line when he chose to give it air. Was mostly used to hoist high balls that, to be fair, did lead to some of South Africa’s best moments in the first half. But he failed to front up on defence as France battered his channel, missing five tackles from 11 attempts. When he was replaced by Handre Pollard five minutes into the second half, there was a sense that we didn’t see the best of what he had to offer.


9 – Cobus Reinach – 7
Robust around the fringe and looked to get in the bruised face of Dupont, but struggled to inject the requisite zip down the line. Some important tackles, most notable on Jonathan Danty, showed that he offers something a little different from most nines, and did play the short pass for de Allende to score, but like Libbok, he left the field with more to give. Replaced by Faf de Klerk on 45 minutes.

1 – Steven Kitshoff – 8
In a game where members of the tight five were asked to perform like industrious back rowers, Kitshoff stepped up. He hit rucks with a ferocious intent and though he coughed up a penalty, his presence over the ball was key to South Africa’s go-forward. Ran out of gas on 51 minutes and was replaced by Ox Nche.

2 – Bongi Mbonambi – 7
Struggled to punch holes when carrying the ball. He wasn’t poor, far from it. And even though it wasn’t entirely his fault a line-out in France’s 22 failed to find its mark, a better throw might have ended in a rolling maul try.

Set Plays

Scrum Win %
Lineout Win %
Restarts Received
Restarts Received Win %

3 – Frans Malherbe  – 7
Typically solid in the scrum. Immense on defence as well, making 12 tackles around the fringe.


4 – Eben Etzebeth – 9
Stepped up when his team needed him most, carrying the entire nation of France in the tackle as he crashed over for a score that gave South Africa the lead in the second half. Was on the fortuitous side twice. Once when he steamed out of the line to make an intercept only to knock it straight down when another referee might have shown him yellow. And then later when a head-on-head clash with Uini Atonio wasn’t upgraded to red. Other than that it was a trademark display on either side of the ball that also included several important challenges in the air from high cross-field kicks.

5 – Franco Mostert – 8.5
It was his huge engine that kept the Springboks machine rumbling even when it looked to have run out of gas in the second half. A fantastic effort as he helped keep dominance around the fringe.

6 – Siya Kolisi – 7
Would have taken pleasure from knocking Dupont back as his teammates rallied round him to get a collective shove on. Made seven tackles and helped maintain width but played more of a supporting than leading role. Hooked for Deon Fourie six minutes after the break.

7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit – 8
Tackled anything that moved. Just did not stop chasing blue jerseys all night. Sharp hands and intelligence shown in the build up to Kolbe’s try and demonstrated his all-round abilities by plucking a ball that came down with ice on it. Most importantly, was especially sharp around the breakdown and came up with one vital steal in South  Africa’s red zone in the second half when France were on the move.

Points Flow Chart

South Africa win +1
Time in lead
Mins in lead
% Of Game In Lead
Possession Last 10 min
Points Last 10 min

8 – Duane Vermeulen  –  7.5
Played a key role in the opening score as he procured an important turnover steal. Immovable over the ball which was crucial in a game of such dizzying pace. Also added security from the restart with some hefty runs.

16 – Deon Fourie – 7
Busy on the deck and when scrambling on defence. Looked more comfortable playing in the back row.

17 – Ox Nche  – 8
He famously said that salads don’t win scrums and the man who adores cake underlined that mantra by winning a scrum penalty shortly after coming on.

18 – Vincent Koch – 8
Scrummed, carried and tackled as well as any of them. Often a forgotten member of South Africa’s front row production line, the man who looks like Mr Incredible put in one helluva shift.

19 – RG Snyman –  7
Coughed up the ball a few metres away when lifted at the line-out, but was otherwise solid.

20 – Kwagga Smith – 8 
An almighty steal shortly after Etzebeth’s try as South Africa’s defence knocked the French back to the half-way line. Of course, he should have been penalised as his hands were on the floor, but those only go your way when you’re as sharp as Smith.

21 – Faf de Klerk –  6
Certainly cost his team the chance to score points when he threw the ball onto a French player lying on the ground with the ball in the red zone. It was a daft move that showed a lack ion understanding of the rules. Later box-kicked with seconds left on the clock when going through the phases would have made the result safe,.

22 – Handre Pollard – 8 
Nailed a kick from the half-way line and, like de Klerk, injected a sense of composure with ball in hand. Also provided more grunt in the tackle than Libbok. Might be a starter next week.

23 –  Willie le Roux – 7
A wise head when calm was needed. All three backs off the bench played their role with what they brought psychologically as much as with ball in hand or on defence.


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Sonwabile 242 days ago

Pollard was solid on D? Insane

Jan 242 days ago

This rating is not worth a 2. Clearly zero knowledge of rugby

Cam 242 days ago

I am a little dissapointed that Nigel/Diggy isn’t here to share his pearls of wisdom. Didn’t he predict that the Springboks would not make it through the QFs?

Nigel 243 days ago

Willie Le Roux should just remain the waterboy - him and Faf are pathetic

Red 243 days ago

So what is the ruling when an opposition player interfers, intentionally or not, with play, especially a scoring opportunity, in an offside position?

Andrew 243 days ago

I’m not sure this is taken into account, but the LH and TH starters are up against a fresh pack, where the ones coming on are not.

Grant 243 days ago

Faf’s box kick was right. If they kept it in their half and France got a penalty they would have got the kick. Better to put it in their 22 and defend up there.

B.J. Spratt 243 days ago

Strachan. Respect is earned and I have never seen that ever coming from the ‘Poms since they invented the game.

They make the rules, they “Jack the draw” Rip them apart mate!
and we will see you in the final. I respect Argentina, but not the Poms.

Even the Union Jack on the flag irks me. Not on their flag, why should it be on ours.

Charlie 243 days ago

Well done!!! Boks remember this is Springbok, also well done to France they really put the fight till the end, their country should be proud of the Team, it was not easy, to Springbok the country is waiting for the Cup, Bring it back homeall the best guys!!

Alan 243 days ago

These player ratings are not very accurate. Kitshoff was the weak link with all the penalties he gave away. Vermuelen was massive, certainly 2 better than Du Toit. Bongi deserves a 10 not 7. And Faff deserves a 2 for just being Faff.

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