Boks in UK
Flo lights Bok fire again
Francois Louw (Gallo Images)
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.
The English Premiership-based player has been a revelation since he rejoined the national set-up, increasingly proving an astute pick by coach Heyneke Meyer
Louw 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
Still 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
Certainly 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
Highly 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
So-so 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
Problematic 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 jersey, maybe?
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
Satisfying game on terrain pretty familiar to him. Took initiative nicely at times, which was slightly overdue, and rewarded with game’s only try at close quarters.
Duane Vermeulen 6.5
Got 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
One 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
Another 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
Ho-hum 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
Just 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
This 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
Dominated 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
Acceptable 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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