The Springboks opened their 2022 Rugby Championship campaign with an emphatic 26-10 win against the All Blacks in Mbombela on Saturday evening.
The Boks dominated the majority of departments in a victory that has heaped more pressure on All Blacks coach Ian Foster and his team.
Here’s how I rated the Bok players, out of 10.
Damian Willemse 7 — Put in a few good kicks, was solid at the back in defence and tried hard to ignite his team’s attacking play. He was eager without having too many opportunities.
Kurt-Lee Arendse 8 — Was a livewire and did brilliantly in the air to score a wonderful try. His pace is electric. Put in some huge tackles and kept Caleb Clarke in check. A red card for a mistimed jump for a high ball blotted an otherwise excellent performance.
Lukhanyo Am 8 — Made a great off-load to Arendse for the winger’s try and put in some big hits, one on Clarke stands out. Organised the defence superbly at the back, and also won a breakdown penalty. Solid outing again.
Damian de Allende 6 — Carried strongly to the gainline, but not as influential as always. Decided to cut inside with the ball on one occasion when drawing his opponent and off-loading was the better option.
Makazole Mapimpi 7 — The ball just didn’t really go the winger’s way. But he was excellent in the air, winning back possession for his team and he continually looked for work. Made some good tackles.
Handre Pollard 8 — The flyhalf enjoyed a very good game all-round game. His tactical kicking, bar one kick, was on point, while his goal-kicking was also top-notch. He also slotted a drop-goal. Strong ball-carries and telling hits.
Faf de Klerk – — The scrumhalf was on the field for less than a minute before he clattered head first into Clarke’s knee, ruling him out of the match.
Jasper Wiese 7 — The big No 8 carried strongly on several occasions, but also gave away a few penalties.
Pieter-Steph du Toit 7 — Still not at his best after a long injury layoff. He took a few good lineout balls and carried well, prominent in the tight-loose.
Siya Kolisi 8 — The Bok skipper enjoyed a very good game. He carried strongly and made a number of tackles, worked hard off the ball, and led the side well and took good decisions.
Lood de Jager 7 — Took his balls in the lineouts and carried strongly to the gainline, he also put in some telling tackles.
Eben Etzebeth 7 — One of the quieter games for the big lock. He was strong at lineout time and carried the ball well, but wasn’t as big a presence as he normally is.
Frans Malherbe 7 — The tighthead prop was as solid as ever in the scrums, ensuring the Boks got on top early on with a few penalty wins.
Malcolm Marx 9 — The Boks’ star player. Just incredible: he carried well on several occasions, won a number of breakdown penalties and hit his targets in the lineouts. A presence that will haunt the All Blacks players tonight.
Trevor Nyakane 7 — Played his part in the Boks getting on top in the scrums early on, but was replaced before half-time for giving away a few penalties.
Bongi Mbonambi 7 — Continued where Marx left off; found his lineout jumpers, carried well.
Vincent Koch 6 — Scrummed well when he came on, and made his tackles.
Steven Kitshoff 7 — Scrummed well in second half and won a key turnover penalty.
Franco Mostert 7 — Was a busy operator when he came on, carried well and chased after All Blacks players.
Kwagga Smith 7 — Also got himself stuck in to the action, carried well and was a menace at the breakdowns.
Jaden Hendrikse 8 — Came on early and fitted in with ease. His service was swift, he kicked well out of hand and even tried a few runs at the opposition.
Willie le Roux 8 — Came on at the very end and scored a try after some nifty foot work.
Salmaan Moerat not rated.