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Springboks player ratings vs Wales | 2023 Summer Nations Series

By Daniel Gallan
Jesse Kriel of South Africa scores the fifth try during the Summer International match between Wales and South Africa at Principality Stadium on August 19, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Springboks player ratings: There was power throughout and just enough panache to kick-start the Springboks’ World Cup preparations on European soil. It’ll only get harder from here, but this was a near perfect day.

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15. Willie le Roux – 8 
The assist machine churned out another beauty when he fed Canan Moodie and would have done so again with a delightful kick were it not for an illegal intervention from Wales’ Rio Dyer. Whether at first receiver or lying deeper in the backline, le Roux once again ran the show.

14. Canan Moodie – 9
Is there a more exciting under-21 player in the world right now? Impenetrable on defence. A constant threat in the air. His fast feet and even faster mind saw him register two tries to go along with over 100m made from six carries. He was a teenager when South Africa lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in 2019. Now he’s one of the first names on the team-sheet.

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13. Jesse Kriel – 8
He hadn’t scored a Test try for five years and bagged a brace. The first was a gimme but the second was a breathtaking run the length of the field. Marshalled the defence and was a physical threat on either side of the ball. He’ll never be the most popular player in the team but that doesn’t diminish his importance. 

12. Damian de Allende – 7
A relatively quiet show from the usually busy centre. Strong leg drives were a trademark feature and he made seven tackles in midfield. 

11. Cheslin Kolbe – 8
When the Springboks adopted their moniker this is the man they had in mind, His ability to change direction without losing any pace is a marvel. Every time he touched the ball he forced bums off seats. But he’s no show pony. He made more metres – 124 – than any other player and beat nine defenders – also a match-day high. 

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10. Manie Libbok – 4
His pass to set up Damian Willemse was sublime and was evidence of the faith that the coaches have in him. But a kicking percentage of 56 per cent is just not good enough at this level. A few other errors, including missing touch from a penalty and hoofing the ball straight out with men outside him, means he still has plenty of questions to answer. Handre Pollard’s fitness now looks even more crucial to the Springboks’ title defence.

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9. Jaden Hendrikse – 6
A solid, if unspectacular performance. A scrumhalf’s job is made that much easier when the pack in front of him is winning the arm wrestle and Hendrikse had nothing but front foot ball to work with. Still, credit to him for sparking some counter attacks and being on hand when RG Snyman burst through the guts of the Welsh defence.

1. Steven Kitshoff – 8
Consumed Wales’ scrum. Offered some handy contributions in the loose as well. Four carries with an average of four metres each is a handy return for the hulking ginger.

2. Malcom Marx – 9
Outstanding. Arguably the best player in world rugby right now. Equalled Schalk Burger as the highest scoring Springboks forward with 16 when he ran a superb line to collect Siya Kolisi’s offload. Was a menace at the breakdown and battered every Welshman who had the temerity of getting near him. An outstanding show.

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3. Frans Malherbe – 8
Like Kitshoff, he dined out on the Welsh scrum. Three consecutive penalties at the set-piece was indicative of his work.

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4. Jean Kleyn – 7
A totem at the line-out and a handy presence on maul defence. Another classic demonstration of what he offers this team. Physicality, a no-nonsense approach to his craft and an energetic work-rate. Ireland’s loss is South Africa’s game. 

5. RG Snyman – 9
One of the best performances from a South African lock in some time. Certainly one of his personal best. His marauding run through the middle of the field to help set up Moodie’s first try will attract attention but everything the lanky giant touched turned to gold. Supreme at set-piece and unbeatable on defence. 

6. Siya Kolisi – 7
Like he never left. After missing out on competitive rugby for 119 days, he needed four minutes to burst through a half gap and unload in the tackle to get the scoring going. He was subbed on 40 minutes for Marco van Staden but not before a tremendous first half that had him occupy his standard position in the trams and around splintered rucks. 

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit – 8
He’s not quite back to his best but he’s not far off. What’s frightening for the rest of the world is that even at 80% he’s still a class act. His line speed on defence was particularly noteworthy and resulted in an intercept that unleashed Kriel for his coast to coast score. 

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8. Jasper Wiese – 6
Bustling without being penetrating. A few too many lateral runs. Not his best game though he barely put a foot wrong. 

16. Bongi Mbonambi – 7
Constantly improving. Maintained accuracy at line-out and steered a driving maul try. 

17. Ox Nche – 8
Earlier this week he said that “salads don’t win scrums”. The cake-lover proved that to be true by winning a scrum penalty shortly after his introduction.

18. Vincent Koch – 7
Can’t stop, won’t stop. That’s the Bomb Squad mantra and no one typifies that more than Koch. One of the most valuable members of the group. 

19. Marco van Staden – 7
Typically industrious and hard hitting.

20. Duane Vermeulen – 8
The old warhorse continues to prove his worth. Always seems to improve the standard of the game whenever he enters the scene. Might be a starter against Scotland on recent evidence.

21. Grant Williams – 7
Picked up where Hendrikse left it. All he had to do was keep recycling the ball and he did just that. 

22. Damian Willemse – 6
Wins points for his try, loses points for his reckless head-to-head tackle on Dyer that, given the recent furore around Owen Farrell, will attract some unwanted attention in the coming days.

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Comments

2 Comments
D
Dallas 338 days ago

Classic 1-liner by Ox Ntche.... "Salads don't win scrums", said the cake-loving prop.
This sits next to last week's commentator chirp about Libbok... "His super-power is his short memory" 🤣😎🙏

C
CT 338 days ago

We need a kicker Libbok is out of his depth

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