Cape Town - Hairy
moments in the first half ... but a classy, increasingly clinical and dominant closing
out of the game.
probably summed up a broadly feel-good performance by experimental South Africa
as they outclassed Australia by a comprehensive 35-17 score-line in the Rugby
Championship encounter at Ellis Park on Saturday.
bonus-point triumph served notice of decent Bok depth - and hunger from both
young and old - in World Cup year, and they will move onto the taxing New
Zealand challenge in Wellington next weekend with a spring in the step.
to being at odds with the official player-of-the-match verdict in previous Bok
Tests, Sport24 nevertheless found it a formality here to concur with Saturday’s
laurel to nippy, thoroughly inspiring scrumhalf debutant Herschel Jantjies ...
Here’s how I rated the Boks at Ellis
Warrick Gelant: 7
touch-finder early on, but that didn’t deter the slippery fullback. Some
pleasing intrusions into the line, deft use of his swerve, and a broad sense
that he wanted to help boss things strategically. Important tackle on a
marauding Michael Hooper late in contest.
S’bu Nkosi: 6.5
Had some second-fiddle
moments in high-ball contests with his marker, the Aussies’ 1.91m Reece Hodge. But
otherwise showed composure and constructive energy, including in issuing final
pass for scrumhalf Jantjies’ first try … and later getting in that column
Jesse Kriel: 6
wrong, though also no special own potency on attack. Made his tackles, and
engineered one alert poach in second half.
Andre Esterhuizen: 5
Not all bad,
but one of the less accomplished Bok performers on a collectively vibrant day.
Sterling yards in lead-up to first Bok try, though blotted copybook with rash
high tackle that led to sin-binning (period when Wallabies cashed in with a
Makazole Mapimpi: 6
conceding five tries, Wallaby defence was outstandingly resolute and organised
at times … and they’d clearly done their homework on the hot-stepper; space
seldom opened up for him. Brave last-ditch Mapimpi tackle very nearly thwarted
a flying Dane Haylett-Petty en route to his try. Maybe lured infield a tad too
much on defence …
Elton Jantjies: 6.5
better than on his last start for Boks on SA soil, in the slush against England
in Cape Town last year. Didn’t immediately dictate, but conviction soared as
game progressed. Goaled every one of five conversions and missed just one,
longish-range penalty which fell short. Defence also seemed to get
progressively steelier; some unsung, brave interventions in second half.
Herschel Jantjies: 9
rousing debut. Began Test life with a well-weighted box kick, and things just
mushroomed in all the right ways for the Stormers’ pocket dynamo from there.
Great anticipation, assured handling, gutsy defence … and, especially
importantly, a fine service and wonderful sniping/linking. His second try was a
blind-side beauty, one for any tries-of-the-season compilation video.
Francois Louw: 8.5
inclined to believe the Bath-based, seasoned campaigner was a spent force
internationally would have been forced to think again, and then some: this
turned out to be perhaps one of his best showings in all 66 Tests. Constant
menace over the ball - including steal to initiate first Bok try - and also
vitally helped slow down some Aussie recycles at a time when Bok defence was
routinely being stretched in first period.
Pieter-Steph du Toit: 7.5
When Du Toit
gets involved in play, it is so often to profound effect - certainly was the
case again here. Made some crunching tackles (though he was a little at fault
in one Wallaby breakout for an eventually disallowed try through forward pass)
and even one memorable, unusual – for him - deft chip ahead after a personal
rampage, shortly preceding Lood de Jager’s try.
Rynhardt Elstadt: 6.5
relish for his maiden Bok appearance, and customary earthy physicality wasn’t always
matched by precision, at least initially. But he was getting increasingly
assertive before his replacement (by Marcell Coetzee) right on hour mark … and
also kept his sometimes costly temper admirably in check.
Lood de Jager: 6.5
showing for someone who has had only had some 50 minutes (last weekend) of
Currie Cup action after a few months’ layoff. Bagged seven lineouts - more than
anyone in the Test - but guilty of one rare aerial fumble that led to turnover and
another slightly inaccurate provision of the ball to his scrumhalf.
Eben Etzebeth: 7
seemed to confirm that he’s been short of a recent gallop. But that valued
engine of his warmed up very nicely in second 40. Produced important pass out
of a tackle in lead-up to Nkosi’s try, and made great ground for one key cover
tackle on the touchline. Captained the cause coolly.
Trevor Nyakane: 6.5
all-important tighthead anchor-man, must take credit for a dominant Bok
performance at that set-piece, even if Boks might want a bit more of his
carrying potential to come to the fore next time.
Bongi Mbonambi: 5.5
a lot of the time, though generally a bit short of his A-game here and lineout
throwing didn’t always go meticulously to plan. Leaked an off-side penalty.
Tendai Mtawarira: 6.5
Was a little
quieter than usual in open play; the “Beaaast” chant was seldom summoned on the
stands. But the 108-capper pulled his weight at scrum time -- including a
killer personal shove just before his substitution in 48th minute -
and had a build-up hand in first SA try.
Frans Steyn: 7.5
back, big guy … the hefty utility back earned 28 minutes in the second half
(his first appearance in just over two years for the Boks) and oozed
directness, urgency and raw power in the inside centre channel, including
giving flyhalf Jantjies renewed confidence nearby. That said, most of the
reserves contributed quite fulsomely.
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