Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Latest Feature

Cutting-edge coaching underlines Red Roses' supremacy

New Zealand's World Cup triumph should not mask the true order of the women's game.

Springboks player ratings vs Ireland | Autumn Nation Series

By Daniel Gallan
Pieter-Steph du Toit of South Africa is tackled by James Ryan of Ireland during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Springboks player ratings: If South Africa are going to defend their World Cup title next year, they’ll have to find an extra gear against teams that can match them upfront. Ireland were immense tonight and fully deserved their victory. Jaques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus have work to do.


Analysing the individual performances from the Boks was no easy task. Few, if any, were horrendous. But few, if any, were particularly good. They were simply a cluster of players who were outplayed and rightly ended on the losing end.

15. Cheslin Kolbe – 5.5/10
Starved of the ball in space, the hot-stepper who normally occupies the wing was solid enough in an unfamiliar role at fullback. He missed a few kicks from the tee, but then we knew he want a goal kicker. His pace compensated for the occasional misstep that put him out of position, but overall a handy night, despite receiving a yellow card that might have been red. His tip-tackle on Mack Hansen didn’t look right in real time.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

14. Kurt-Lee Arendse – 6
The diminutive winger gets an extra score for registering a try, and was tidy in the tackle, standing up well whenever Ireland had an overlap in his channel. But, like the rest of his mates in the outside backs position, he didn’t get much opportunity from structured play.

13. Jesse Kriel – 7.5
South Africa’s best player on the night. Not so much with ball in hand as there were few forays on attack. But he was outstanding on defence, leading their umbrella strategy, charing the line like a zealot, tackling with the surety of a Swiss banker. Not everyone’s favourite player, but he put his hand up in a big way.

12. Damian de Allende – 6
An impressive first half where he did what was asked of him on attack and defence, but disappeared from the action in the second period. Not his fault entirely, but as the game broke apart and spaces opened up, a ruthless streak might have placed him in positions of influence.

11. Makazole Mapimpi – 6
Copy, paste. Just like his fellow backs, just not involved enough. Handy under the high ball and shook the foundations of Dublin with a mighty tackle when there was an overlap brewing on Ireland’s right wing. Would have been good to see him get his hands on the ball more.


10. Damian Willemse – 4
Fantastic in broken play but his game management and kicking out of hand was dreadful at times. One poor hoof perhaps cost his team the game. Just after the Springboks’ second try, Willemse punted the ball out on the full despite there being better options out wide. He’s one heck of a rugby player, but he’s not a Test 10. This performance should put that debate to bed.

9. Jaden Hendrikse – 6
Zippy off the back of the ruck when his forwards got go forward ball, but he must take some responsibility for not fizzing it out wide to the backs when presented with the chance to do so. Some poor box kicks will also be a concern as the Springboks go in search of a complete scrum-half.

Steven Kitshoff – 6
Tidy, competed his job, strong carries up the guts. A perfectly acceptable performance from the big ginger who didn’t do too much wring without setting the house on fire. Off after 57 minutes.

2. Malcom Marx – 6
Aggressive and belligerent as you’d expect, he provided some busting carries but didn’t have the same impact at the breakdown that he normally does. Off after 57 minutes.


3 Frans Malherbe – 6
Better minds for what goes on in the scrum will tell you what he did wrong to give away a penalty. I’m sure I don’t know. From what I could tell he remained a force in the scrum and wheeled the Irish pack on more than one occasion. One of the best in the business. Off after 46 minutes.

4. Eben Etzebeth – 7
A dream offload to set up Arendse’s try he worked hard for 80 minutes and remained a thorn throughout. He did cough the ball up from a line-out with the Boks 5m. He wasn’t under pressure, but those are the moments that turn Tests.

5 Lood de Jager – 6
Won two line-outs and made most of his tackles. Had his night ended just after the half-hour mark with an injury.

6 Siya Kolisi – 6
Nounced Josh van der Flier with a meaty run but was otherwise anonymous for large periods. Perhaps could have been in the referee’s ear a bit more, especially as there was a forward pass in the build up to Ireland’s second try. Nevertheless, a solid enough display from the Bok skipper without doing too much.

7 Pieter-Steph du Tout – 6.5
Approaching full fitness and what a player he is when he gets the bit between his teeth. Impressive in the loose and a formidable ball carrier. He constantly harried the Irish line with his rush defence and was a pest over the ball. He’s getting back to the player we saw in 2019. Off after 64 minutes.

8 Jasper Wiese – 6
A tad one-dimensional, but we knew that already. Hefty charges into contact are pretty much all Wiese offers. His defence needs work as he seems to hurl himself in with more enthusiasm and intent than logic and analysis.


Bongi Mbonambi – 6
On for Marx on 57 minutes. Handy without doing too much. He’s a solid operator and provides depth for the Boks.

Ox Nche – 6
On for Kitshoff on 57 minutes. One hopeful pass over the top would have been his crowning achievement in the game had it come off. Instead Damian Willemse turfed it and the chance was gone.

Koch – 6
On for Malherbe on 46 minutes – One penalty against him in the scrum that could have gone either way. Made six meaty runs.

Franco Mostert – 7
On for de Jager on 35 minutes – Scored a lovely try with a long reach and solid dot down, but did so much more than that. A talented player who can operate in both the tight and loose facets of the game. His all round contributions were on show tonight.

Deon Fourie – 6
On for du Tout on 64 minutes. Might have passed in the build up for Mostert’s try but his decision didn’t prove costly. At 36 is still busting a gut and cantering into contact. He offered grunt bit not much guile.

Kwagga Smith – 6
On for Wiese on 52 minutes – Injected pace into the Springbok pack but failed to bust over the gainline with enough frequency. One breezy break through the middle opened the game up for a try later on.

Faf De Klerk – 6
On for Hendrikse on 52 minutes. Added more accuracy from the boot but lacked that explosion that is a hallmark of Hendrikse. Showed that he is the 9 for the tight occasions.

Willie Le Roux – 7
On for Arendse on 53 minutes – Unquestionably the most intelligent rugby player in the Springboks ranks. His ability to read the situation and spot a gap is unrivalled. A noticeable difference to the attack when he joined the party.


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
FEATURE Mick Cleary: 'Andy Farrell gets it. Head and heart in perfect alignment. Get him in the job now.' Mick Cleary: 'Andy Farrell gets it. Head and heart in perfect alignment. Get him in the job now.'