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Springboks player ratings vs Ireland | July series first Test

By Josh Raisey
Jesse Kriel of the Springboks during the 2024 Castle Lager Incoming Series match between South Africa and Ireland at Loftus Versfeld on July 06, 2024 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

In their first match on home soil since lifting the World Cup last year, South Africa treated the Loftus Versfeld fans to a gripping clash with world number twos Ireland in a 27-20 win.


Rassie Erasmus turned to many of his tried-and-tested Boks for this match, and their experience showed in a match that ebbed and flowed, with the Bomb Squad doing what they do best.

The Boks keep hold of top spot in the world rankings heading to Durban. Here’s how the players rated:

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15 – Willie le Roux – 8
Integral to this new attacking style adopted by the Boks and was able to exhibit his passing range. There was some loose passing at times, and an interception, but Willie le Roux pulled the strings nicely at his home ground.

14 – Cheslin Kolbe – 8
Got the try he deserved in fortuitous fashion in a game where he popped up all over the field and beat defenders for fun.

South Africa
27 - 20
All Stats and Data

13 – Jesse Kriel – 9
Really enjoyed himself in a match where Ireland gifted the Boks plenty of acreage on the fringes and as a result had a great return with metres carried.

12 – Damian de Allende – 7
Had some standout moments with ball in hand, none more so than swatting tackler after tackler away with consummate ease from a standing start, including Peter O’Mahony twice, but was relied upon more defensively, particularly in maintaining Bundee Aki.


11 – Kurt-Lee Arendse – 7
Produced a world class finish in the opening minutes. To step an international fullback is one thing, but to do it without them laying a finger on you is an act of pure class. Late yellow card was a blot on his performance.

10 – Handré Pollard – 5
Fizzed the ball wide adroitly as the Boks played with some real verve in the opening stages, but the Leicester Tiger’s game unravelled slightly, and his goal-kicking mirrored that. Had his blushes spared by James Lowe’s trying being ruled out in the second-half, as he put a fairly lame attempt in to stop the winger. Few players have ever been rewarded so well for a missed kick to touch- he has Cheslin Kolbe to thank for that.

9 – Faf de Klerk – 6
The No.9 was caught out a couple of times by some aggressive counter-rucking from Ireland, who clearly planned on exerting as much pressure as possible on him to prevent him from dictating affairs. A mixed afternoon as a result.

1 – Ox Nche – 7
Penalised for the first three points for not rolling away, but perhaps got stuck in the most out of his front row before the Bomb Squad came on.


2 – Bongi Mbonambi – 6
Faultless display at the lineout during his 50-minute spell.

3 – Frans Malherbe – 6
In a match that was not laden with scrums during his 50 minutes, Frans Malherbe is never going to be able to influence a game in the way many know he can.

4 – Eben Etzebeth – 6.5
The iconic lock was maybe outshone by his second-row partner in Pretoria, but that is not to say he was poor. In fact, is Eben Etzebeth physically capable of putting in a poor performance?

5 – Franco Mostert – 8
Left the field on 50 minutes with the most tackles for his side (twelve at the time). Stood up in a half where the Boks’ defence was pushed by the visitors.

Points Flow Chart

South Africa win +7
Time in lead
Mins in lead
% Of Game In Lead
Possession Last 10 min
Points Last 10 min

6 – Siya Kolisi – 7
Put every ounce of his ‘overweight’ frame to good use with some fierce carries which the Irish tacklers wore. Was probably the Boks’ most damaging ball-carrier in the pack before being replaced. A nice assist as well in the wider channel for Kurt-Lee Arendse’s first try.

7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit – 9
Not just a weapons-grade tackling machine in green (or white on this occasion), but showed some nice handling throughout and proved what a handy link player he is. Was given a chance to gallop on plenty of occasions on the edges, and made Ireland pay. He did finish the match with the most tackles, but if anything it is more noteworthy if he doesn’t.

8 – Kwagga Smith – 8
Ironic jeers from the crowd are the last thing any player wants to hear after catching the high ball, least of all a No.8, but Kwagga Smith did struggle in what was otherwise a decent performance elsewhere.


16 – Malcolm Marx – 7
Pulled off a trademark Malcolm Marx penalty at the breakdown soon after coming on, stultifying a glimmer of momentum Ireland were building.

17 – Gerhard Steenekamp – 8
Marmalised Ireland’s scrum on one occasion, which led to the penalty kick to touch which Kolbe scored from. Failed to read a well-executed Ireland play as they scored their late try. Pulled off a devastating drive just minutes later to earn a penalty try. That’s how you make up for an error.

18 – Vincent Koch – 7
Penalised at the scrum within minutes of coming on, but bounced back and bounced back handsomely.

19 – Salmaan Moerat – 6
Put his legs to good use to prevent Caelan Doris from scoring a pick-and-go when Ireland were pressurising a 14-man Springboks side.

20 – RG Snyman – 7
Did exactly what the Bomb Squad is supposed to do. Came on and made his 131kg presence felt.

21 – Marco van Staden – 6
Quietest of all the Bomb Squad.

22 – Grant Williams – 6
Brought plenty of energy from the bench, but that spilt over at one point into a needless penalty.

23 – Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu – N/A
Only a seven-minute cameo.

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Flankly 13 days ago

The Healy illegal obstruction on Steenekamp was the reason for the clear running lane for the Kelleher inside pass, and for the resulting Murray try. Some other refs/TMOs would have disallowed the try and awarded a Bok penalty.

It is true that Steenekamp should have read it better, and positioned himself between Healy and Kelleher (leaving Moerat to handle Healy if the pass went there). So it is a good call out on Steenekamp.

But such clean defensive line breaks in the inside channels are always suspicious with defenses as organized as these. The TMO should have been carefully reviewing that inside pass immediately. Healy will claim that he was just running a receiver line, but you can tell by his eye and hand movements that his role was to block the defender.

To state the obvious - the try also featured a two on one against Sacha. That was a direct result of the Arendse yellow card, with Le Roux positioned wide on the left rather than sweeping the back field.

Stephen 14 days ago

Kwagga def needs to come on 2nd half. We needed a bulldozer 8 to get across the gain line.

Thomas 14 days ago

Kwagga was nowhere close to 8, RG nowhere close to 7. Love them both, but that’s some unduly inflated scoring.
Kriel was on fire, Kolbe was class, PSdT, Mostert both had a really good game.
Overall, the Boks were rusty, which is to be expected.

Chris 14 days ago

Kwagga is an impact player for me. Roos to start next week pls

Rob 14 days ago

There soon comes a time when a referee will actually call all the forward passes Le Roux throws, today was a good day only half were forward….

john 14 days ago

TMO is becoming a joke.Why don’t they just get rid of the referee and let the T
MO make all the decisions.TMO was S Africa 16th man today.I gave him man of the match.He played a blinder.I gave him a ten.👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻.

John 14 days ago

Closer than it should’ve been…that said, had JGP been healthy, this could’ve gone the other way. Somebody help Kwagga on the catches

SadersMan 14 days ago

Southern Hemispere 3 Northern Hemispere 0.

Tom 14 days ago

Jesse Kriel has mutant thighs.

jim 14 days ago

Intense game but silly errors on both sides so don’t know how there are so many 8s and 9s. 6s and 7s would be more accurate. A lot of 5s and 6s on the Irish side

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