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Good second half against Ireland, good first half against Scotland … warts and all, the Springboks continue unbeaten on their season-ending tour of the northern hemisphere.


The challenge now, perhaps, will be to attempt to produce a more acceptably consistent showing over the course of 80 minutes if they are to also see off England at Twickenham next Saturday for a clean sweep.

In a nutshell, the Boks again simply demonstrated, in seeing off the Scots 21-10 at Murrayfield, what we already know about them under Heyneke Meyer’s coaching tenure: that they are masters of physicality and sometimes amazingly unyielding defence, but leave many, many question marks when it comes to pizzazz.

Video highlights: Scotland v South Africa

That fact is reflected in forwards – admirably headed by Adriaan Strauss and Francois Louw – largely bossing the Sport24 performance card.


Here’s how we rated the Boks:

15 Zane Kirchner 6.5
This is becoming habitual: once again Kirchner didn’t dazzle (the Bok game-plan hardly helps) but you also have to laud his excellent composure and positional sense on defence … particularly in the under-siege second half.

14 JP Pietersen 6.5
Oh, for better opportunities for the long-legged right wing to build a head of running steam! But he still managed an influential game, courtesy of some inspiring, powerful drive-back tackling.

13 Juan de Jongh 6.5
One near-clean line break from what arguably amounted to one opportunity … if only there had been more? Also laid those lingering “size” doubts in some circles to rest with strong awareness and resolve on defence.

12 Jean de Villiers 7
Seriously committed and industrious considering his lead-up days were mostly spent in bed with flu. It’s a shame he becomes more and more a “contact” player in advancing years, but the skipper did ensure some key go-forward, all the same.

11 Francois Hougaard 6
More adhesive in defensive terms than against Ireland. But just maybe it’s time look at someone like Lwazi Mvovo out wide again, and even consider Hougaard’s restoration to No 9 at Twickenham.

10 Pat Lambie 5.5
Whether his natural game is currently restricted by “orders” or not, the Sharks darling again didn’t quite manage to exert any meaningful authority in the flyhalf slot. The No 10 riddle stays unanswered for the time being.

9 Ruan Pienaar 6
Solid and functional without being earth-shattering. One welcome mini-break, and a good finish by him to the punishing game. But also leaves some nagging doubts about the stealth of his service.

8 Duane Vermeulen 7
Strong man, yeoman worker … we’ve always known that. Saturday only underlined those hallmarks as he got stuck in with relish where the sun don’t shine. No silkier strings to his bow yet, mind.

7 Willem Alberts 7
Strong man, yeoman worker … oops, sorry, did we say that of the previous guy? You still feel the Bok loose trio could do with a whippet-like game-breaker, but the flip side is that the current combo undoubtedly does much more that’s good than bad. Alberts certainly hurt some Scots in collision.

6 Francois Louw 8
Is this the form open-sider of world rugby? Another cracker of a match, to rank right up with his demon display in Dublin, and maybe even then some. Official choice for man of the match.

5 Juandré Kruger 6.5
Tackling technique and precision can still let him down on the odd occasion, but the Bulls No 5 did lift the bar a notch for 70 minutes on his iffy showing against Ireland.

4 Eben Etzebeth 7
Just 21, yet easily the senior Bok lock at present! Stays simply indispensable, despite such a gruelling maiden top-flight season. Amazing lineout prowess for a No 4 (who tends to be the more secondary lock in that capacity in the modern game), gritty mauling and some very timely tackles when Boks were under cosh.

3 Jannie du Plessis 7.5
Again, you could see why Heyneke Meyer was so determined to somehow patch up his niggles and have him out there, battle-weariness and all, for that right shoulder at scrum-time. Look how the set-piece wobbled when he was subbed at 53 min …

2 Adriaan Strauss 8
The consummate, all-round performance. Dead-eye accurate throwing-in, inspiring work as an extra fetcher, zealous mauler … and his second, opportunistic try was probably more important than his first in terms of ensuring precious daylight before the Scottish rearguard action.

1 Gurthrö Steenkamp 6.5
Largely satisfying return to the No 1 shirt for the bald Bok stalwart. Robust scrumming, especially initially, and a valuable carry during the lead-up to the tourists’ rolling-maul try.


Subs with enough game-time for rating:

17 CJ van der Linde 4
Ouch … fairly traumatic 27 minutes at the scrummaging office when he took over at tighthead, and paid a price in penalties.

18 Heinke van der Merwe 6
Perhaps not quite as forceful as when his fresh legs were infused against Ireland, but mostly fitted in soundly after Steenkamp’s call-off.

20 Marcell Coetzee 6.5
Nice ability to inject urgency and high tempo almost immediately.

6 Responses to End Of Year Tours: Springbok ratings – Stellar Strauss!

  • 1

    Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Springbok players.

    15 Zane Kirchner
    While he did little wrong, he didn’t bring anything to the table and at Test level, one has to add value to earn your keep.

    14 JP Pietersen
    Made a statement with his aggressive defence. Hardly had an opportunity to stretch his legs on attack.

    13 Juan de Jongh
    With the little ball he got – one solitary attacking opportunity – he showed just what a difference an attacking midfielder brings to the table. He asked questions of the Scottish defence with his footwork and should have been brought into play much more often.

    12 Jean de Villiers
    As he has matured, De Villiers has developed into a one-dimensional player which eliminates several attacking possibilities. As such, defenders know exactly what to expect from the Springbok skipper. With that in mind, De Villiers succeeded in crashing over the advantage line and giving the visitors go-forward ball and he was outstanding on defence.

    11 Francois Hougaard
    Injected pace and created opportunities for his support runners with his good stepping. In hindsight, considering the Springboks’ attacking mentality, he would have been more effective starting at No.9.

    10 Pat Lambie
    The conditions and opposition were ideal for Lambie to weave his attacking brilliance. He failed to seize the opportunity as he took the ball to the line twice all game and his kicking out of hand was not up to standard.

    9 Ruan Pienaar
    Arguably his poorest Test as starting scrumhalf this year. Certainly in the first half the Springboks were intent on running the ball, and while his speed to the ball was satisfactory, he was simply a link to the backline. When he did kick he was off-target.

    8 Duane Vermeulen
    His high workrate saw him make 13 tackles and frustrate the Scots at the breakdown. Will have to work on his ball-carrying though.

    7 Willem Alberts
    An unstoppable force and reliable source on phase one/two ball and won ground on defence in the way he forced ball-carriers back with his brute strength.

    6 Francois Louw
    Exceptional on the floor once again, making some key turnovers, and tireless on defence, with his 17 hits seeing him scoop the man of the match award.

    5 Juandré Kruger
    Flew under the radar but didn’t put a foot wrong all evening with four line-out takes and eight tackles.

    4 Eben Etzebeth
    A much better balanced game compared to last weekend. He was impressive once again in the line-outs but he also upped his workrate in the tight-loose and made some valuable contributions in this area of play. Carried the ball strongly as always.

    3 Jannie du Plessis
    One bad knock-on aside, Du Plessis had another solid outing and finally received a long overdo breather after 52 minutes.

    2 Adriaan Strauss
    Simply outstanding in all departments, Strauss produced a match-winning performance in the No.2 jersey. His line-out throwing was spot-on as per usual, he played a brilliant support role as spoiler at the breakdown and bagged a brace.

    1 Gurthrö Steenkamp
    Can’t fault his scrummaging but his tackling technique was sloppy and allowed runners to bounce off his.


    16 Schalk Brits (on for Strauss, 76th minute)
    Not enough time to be rated.

    17 Heinke van der Merwe (on for Steenkamp, 61st minute)
    Not enough time to be rated.

    18 CJ van der Linde (on for Du Plessis, 52nd minute)
    Had an absolute mare at scrum time.

    19 Flip van der Merwe (on for Kruger, 68th minute)
    Not enough time to be rated.

    20 Marcell Coetzee (on for Alberts, 53rd minute)
    Made a significant impact off the bench with his world-class work ethic and intensity.

    21 Morné Steyn (on for Lambie, 73rd minute)
    Not enough time to be rated.

  • 2

    Ja there is pretty much consensus around a few issues:

    Lambie didn’t kick well for position at all.

    J shouldn’t be near a Bok jersey,

    Flo really is the “real deal”,

    Jean is a crash ball specialist, but he does do it really well,

    Strauss is also the “real deal”. Where to now for Bismark??

    Pienaar isn’t the answer at 9, never has been,

    The locks are settling in to a great unit.

  • 3

    For once I agree with the points rating, except that I would give CJ van der Linde a round ZERO!

  • 4

    I personally think ratings are daft. It is only one persons opinion and to be honest it is not fair on players to have the “microscope” on them in that way. Why do they do it these ratings? If you read all the rugby sites and I mean everyone, they all have different ratings everyone of the them and all the papers had different ratings. Everyone sees it different it is many different opinions and that is just that. Can’t truly take them serious. Unless you rate the person’s rugby knowledge that makes the ratings. I do like team of the week as there are no ratings there and it is a TEAM selected from every team that has played that week. Like the Rugby Awards at the end of the year, I personally don’t like them either, as it is a team sport.

    I don’t take any of this serious at all. The reason I never look at the ratings any longer on any of the blogs awbout.

  • 6

    @ Puma:
    Puma i hear you, i hear you
    Sometimes you are so funny, i just love your biased opinion…., when i was much younger there was one thing, only one thing and that was Blou, and anything done reasonably well by a Blue player was so great in my eyes and anything done wrong by a non Blue player was the end of that players career, no 2nd chance.

    But i have grown up, i see the players mistakes and try and assess whether it was due to inexperience or plain stupidity or incompetence.


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