Boks on Tour

Bok player ratings

2009-11-14 10:31
Heinrich Brussow (Gallo Images)
France v SA: Springbok player ratings

A weary looking and out of sorts Springbok side came unstuck against a physical and motivated French side who extended their 12-year unbeaten run against the Springoks on home soil with a 20-13 win at Stadium Municipal, Toulouse, on Friday.

Each side scored one try but it was the home side who made all the running. The Boks were guilty of giving up possession far too easily while Julien Dupuy (four penalties) and Morgan Parra (one penalty) kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side.

Sport24 editor and ex WP prop Tank Lanning rates the Springbok players …

Zane Kirchner: 3/10

Started both halves badly - with a charged down kick in the first and a kick in directly into touch in the second, and never recovered. Did not inspire confidence.

JP Pietersen: 4/10
Will be remembered for the crazy quick throw in toward the end of the game. Pretty solid on defence, but almost zero opportunity on attack. The Boks did not have enough ball to try getting it to the wings!

Jaque Fourie: 5/10
Pretty invisible, really. His defence was solid, but as per most of the backs, very limited opportunities on attack. Perhaps he should move to inside centre?

Adi Jacobs: 3/10

A bit of an enigma. His defence was actually pretty damn solid, but he was the biggest offender in terms of not respecting the ball. Gave possession away far too easily in the tackle, and as such, stymied the Bok attack.

Bryan Habana: 2/10
Not his best. One cannot fault his work rate, but he was one of the many players to lose the ball in the tackle. And on a night of few opportunities, the childish little kick he put in at a maul late in the first half may just come home to bite him via the citing commissioner.

Morné Steyn: 3/10

The law of averages dictates that this Bok hero was due a bad game at some stage. And this was it. Kicked directly into touch, kicked too deep out of hand, did not mark the ball when he could late in the game, and the cherry on top - a yellow card for tripping.

Fourie du Preez: 6/10
The SA Player of the year and shoe in for the IRB player of the year is never going to let you down. Solid again, if unspectacular. Partly because he was behind a set of players being physically bullied, though.

Ryan Kankowski: 2/10
A pretty bad day at the office. He said after the game that he thought the Bok scrum went quite well – perhaps he was concussed, or watching another game? Lost the ball in contact too easily, including not being able to take a high ball that lead to the French try. And to crown the performance, he was yellow carded for killing the ball.

Schalk Burger: 5/10
I have never seen him pass as much as he did, or pass as well as he did. But he conceded an early penalty, missed a few tackles, and coughed the ball up too many times in the tackle. As a linking number 7, he did not fulfil that role.

Heinrich Brüssow: 9/10
And Peter de Villiers wanted to drop him? The Boks' best player by a stretch. Multiple steals through yeomen work at the breakdown and excellent defence. With the rest of his team mates coughing the ball up so regularly, Brussow was the man who kept the Boks in the game.

Victor Matfield: 5/10
A few great steals on the opposition throw, but had two stolen from him! Was the cut on the eye a little “Welcome back to France” gift that distracted the Bok vice captain?

Bakkies Botha: 5/10
Solid on his own ball in the lineout. Powerful scrumming behind a struggling Smit. Bled for the cause, but one has to wonder what caused that blood and if said blood took away some focus from the Bok hard man. Gave away a pretty silly penalty for pulling down a maul.

John Smit: 4/10
High work rate and put in some good tackles. Gave away a penalty at a ruck, and was part of the scrum troubles in the second half, though. In my opinion, Smit can only handle 60 minutes of rugby at tighthead before his battery runs out. That cross kick that went over the deadball line was a shocker! Got the Bok try, but it was not exactly the hardest finish in world rugby.

Bismarck du Plessis: 3/10
Gave away a penalty or two, missed a few lineouts, coughed up ball in the tackle, and slipped off a few tackles. A poor game.

Tendai Mtawarira: 3/10
Invisible. Part of the scrum that did ok in the first half, but also part of the scrum that came undone in the second half. No ball carries and no big tackles. Perhaps his worst game in the Bok jersey.

Use of the bench: 0/10
Again hopeless, and Peter de Villiers really needs to work on this skill. Why would you replace the loosehead prop with a tighthead when you have a loosehead on the bench? De Villiers seems to be too damn scared to take his skipper off the bench after the first Lions Test scare. Why have two props on the bench then? The entire front row should have been replaced after 60 minutes and Matfield made captain. Not that it would have changed the result though …

In a game that was not working out well for the Boks, Wian du Preez and  Ruan Pienaar were not used at all, Adriaan Strauss and Wynand Olivier were on the field for ten minutes, and CJ van der Linde was used on the looshead side!

Andries Bekker was on for twenty minutes and managed to get flattened in a tackle and cough up the ball, while Danie Rossouw did not impress when called upon to replace Burger. A little unfair on the latter, though, as in my eyes, he should be the lock replacement.

South African anthem singer: Minus 6/10!
The French seemed to pick the winner of the local bottle store karaoke competition and stick a microphone in front of him. I have never heard a song butchered so badly. Atrocious really, but not something that should have got the players in a tizz, as has been inferred by Victor Matfield, who was aggrieved at not being able to sing along and seeing spectators giggling.

Lanning is the author of the Front Row Grunt blog



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