Bok ratings: It’s mostly grim
Cape Town - One-dimensional, ponderous and fortuitous in their 16-16 away draw with Argentina in the Castle Rugby Championship on Saturday, the Springbok struggle is reflected in no player even creeping up to a figure above 65% on our report card.
Here are the Sport24 Bok ratings from Mendoza ... readers’ own feedback welcome! Zane Kirchner: 5.5
Did his stock chores reasonably, in fairness. But that’s about all you get from him ... can’t hold candle to, say, an Israel Dagg for excitement or unpredictability.Bryan Habana: 6
Tigerish and industrious enough, especially for someone in significant injury doubt in lead-up days. But so few opportunities for “expression”.Jean de Villiers: 6
Couple of mildly promising mini-breaks, though it’s a pity the captain, due to the game-plan, hardly gets quality ball in the outside centre channel. Needed to communicate more on defence? Frans Steyn: 6.5
Only his moment of charge-down opportunism spared Boks an embarrassing maiden loss to Pumas. Increasingly influential as game wore on - even if also far from flawless in option-taking.Lwazi Mvovo: 6
Not the first time in recent years a Bok wing has got chilly out wide through inactivity. Elusive and purposeful on rare occasions he could be.Morné Steyn: 5.5
Landed his goals ... well, almost all of them. But still, crucially, just seems too obvious a handbrake to Bok creativity, plus one of those exasperating Boks to routinely hoist frankly unimaginative, 50-50 high balls.
Francois Hougaard: 5.5
Zzzz ... this is getting monotonous. Your scrumhalf being removed from his starting post after roughly an hour in every Test match only tells you how he’s struggling to truly impose himself, doesn’t it?Willem Alberts: 5
Sorry, just not mobile or consistently busy enough to be a top-tier Test No 8. Must go back to blindside flank, or impact factor. Anyone see Kieran Read’s contrasting majesty for the All Blacks a few hours earlier? Ouch. ‘Nuff said.Jacques Potgieter: 5.5
Give this guy some credit for one thing: heart. But you expect so much more from the proud treasure trove of Bok loose forwards than mere “physicality”. Frankly, it’s all he brings.Marcell Coetzee: 5
The youngster seemed a little over-awed (not the only Bok on the day) by Pumas’ intensity and ferocity at the breakdown. Lost a key ball in contact in home-team quarter just before half-time. Most innocuous Test by him yet, though we already know he’s a pretty good ‘un.Andries Bekker: 5.5
Stinging criticism from Nick Mallett for tackling gremlins, one in lead-up to Argentina’s try, with former Bok coach suggesting he’s too upright and that his back may still be problematic. Did put himself about in general play and banked some lineout ball, but also saw some poaches from under his nose. Eben Etzebeth: 6
Pumas’ pack tried to niggle the 20-year-old early on, to throw him off stride. Came through stern examination with honour intact, however. Fine learning experience in hostile foreign climes. Some good ball carries in Boks’ rally (well, of sorts) in second half.Jannie du Plessis: 5
Bok scrum didn’t go backwards to any great degree, but not mightily forward either. Relatively invisible outing by the tighthead until Pat Cilliers took over in 68th minute.Adriaan Strauss: 5.5
Could have been worse - though this game also demonstrated, alas, what the Boks lose in hardcore, close-quarters combat when Bismarck du Plessis is absent.Tendai Mtawarira: 5
Seems to be receding, rather than picking up a head of steam, as Bok season progresses. Where are those famous, barnstorming charges? Substitutes:Flip van der Merwe: 5
Gave away stupid lineout penalty (duly goaled) virtually the moment he came on for half an hour. No special extra “presence” in second row. Ruan Pienaar: 5.5
Has been more constructive in earlier injections off bench this year; too easily handed off by a Pumas ball-carrier in one instance.
Keegan Daniel, Pat Cilliers and Tiaan Liebenberg: Too little time to be properly assessed.*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing
HAVE YOUR SAY:
What did you think of the Springboks’ effort against Argentina on Saturday? Can they achieve long-term success with the game plan they have? Send your thoughts to Sport24