Flo lights Bok fire again
Sport24 chief writer Rob Houwing (File)
Cape Town - Another commanding performance by open-side flank Francois Louw
characterised South Africa’s come-from-behind 16-12 triumph over Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
English Premiership-based player has been a revelation since he
rejoined the national set-up, increasingly proving an astute pick by
coach Heyneke Meyer
was influential even while the Springboks were on the back foot in a
pallid first half from them, and retained his prominence as they
commendably seized a grip after half-time in what former captain John
Smit lauded as an “unbelievable turnaround”.
Here’s how we rated the Boks: Zane Kirchner 6.5
didn’t provide anything unexpected, but give him his due: importantly
businesslike performance in a grim scrap. Positionally sound, and good
competing under high ball.
JP Pietersen 6
came out breathing fire ... perhaps just a little over-amped, actually?
Stuck determinedly to defensive guns but a few little gremlins, plus
unwelcome yellow card for early tackle.
Jaco Taute 6
debatable selection ahead of in-form Juan de Jongh, but utility man
showed far better technique and resolve on defence at No 13 than in last
game against All Blacks.
Jean de Villiers 6.5
first half, along with so many Boks, but rallied troops splendidly for
the fightback and led by example with forceful ball-carries and
crunching commitment in the tackle.
Francois Hougaard 5.5
first half, and left for dead once as Keith Earls flashed by him. Some
improvement after break, it must be said. Jury still out over No 11
Pat Lambie 6
Found it very hard to
be assertive as Boks outsmarted and pressed back in first 40. Looked
much better as momentum shifted, though has had better days with both
place- and tactical kicking and confidence somehow didn’t seem
wonderful. Ruan Pienaar 7
game on terrain pretty familiar to him. Took initiative nicely at
times, which was slightly overdue, and rewarded with game’s only try at
Duane Vermeulen 6.5
through a fair bit of unglamorous, perhaps often unspotted graft. Some
key turnovers or determined “hold-ups” as well. Still await best of him
at Test level, though?
Willem Alberts 6.5
of better, more assertive Bok forwards in unproductive first half, with
some trademark big hits and mini-surges. Came off 15 minutes early, job
largely done, to facilitate fresh legs for run-in period.
Francois Louw 7.5
really illuminating Test by the Bath-based customer. Seriously
hard-working on the deck, facilitating some turnovers, ace tackler and
alert in cover-defence capacity as well.
Juandre Kruger 5.5
game from the Bulls man. Went missing in action at times, and not a
significant lineout factor. Still, strong driving mauls are a pack
effort so must have pulled some weight there.
Eben Etzebeth 7
kept his cool when things got tetchy, though like all good enforcers
wasn’t ever going to be too far away! Showed off his great muscularity
in close combat several times, and again excellent at pressurising or
actually stealing opposition lineout ball.
Jannie du Plessis 6.5
yeoman workhorse of 2012 is clearly tired - though still didn’t take
any backward step at scrum-time. Wisely the first Bok to be subbed on 55
minutes. How about a day off against the Scots to be fresh for England?
Adriaan Strauss 7
his Irish (!) cousin Richardt in the keenly-awaited match-up at hooker.
Did all basic chores professionally, and one or two forceful drives.
CJ van der Linde 6
showing from the late call-up at loosehead prop, especially considering
he so seldom plays full (or even fullish) matches these days. Helped
stop some Irish mauling initiatives in their perky first half.
Subs with reasonable game-time:Pat Cilliers 6.5
Accomplished enough in scrums when he entered fray on tighthead side. Big plus was cleanout lustre and urgency in tackle.
Heinke van der Merwe 6
One particularly promising scrum at loosehead, leading to morale-boosting penalty gain. Marcell Coetzee 6.5
Threw himself about like Duracell bunny for 15 minutes; clearly desperate to bag a start again some time.
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