How City Press rates the Springboks in their first Rugby Championship assignment

2012-08-18 21:16

South Africa:

15. Zane Kirchner: Was not out of place as Juan Martin Hernandez’s wayward kicking game played straight into his hands. Was the cause of South Africa’s first offence, but his experience at centre played a part in the first try. 7/10

14. Bryan Habana: When the ball did not come his way, he looked for work. Nominally on the left, he did not look out of place at right wing and anticipated Morne Steyn’s crosskick very well. Counterattacking skills also have improved. 8/10

13: Jean de Villiers: Unusually quiet game by his standards, but he kept the Argentine defence on its toes because of the surplus ball he received from the Steyns. Was not tested that much on defence as the Pumas ran too laterally. 6/10

12. Frans Steyn: He was his normal bullock self and breached the advantage line more often than not. His distribution was not at its best, but it was hardly needed as in his primary role he kept the defence worried. 6/10

11. Lwazi Mvovo: Was quiet, as most of the traffic was not in his lane and the Argentines chose to kick to Habana. Showed a few neat touches with the ball in hand. 5/10

10. Morne Steyn: After the shockers against England, he stepped up to the plate magnificently. More will be asked of him against sterner opposition later on in the tournament but when he kicked as well as he did from the tee and out of hand, the Boks can bank on him as a points machine. 9/10

9. Francois Hougaard: His distribution improved massively from the inconsistent England performances. His preference to run and pass instead of kicking showed his more skilful side, but he is better suited to playing at wing. 6/10

8. Keegan Daniel: Was not his normal industrious self. The physicality of Test rugby seems a bit too much for him. His ceiling seems to be Super Rugby. 4/10

7. Willem Alberts: He battered the Argentine defence and his linebreaks caused problems. He was a massive presence in the loose and cleaned out well when required. The Boks will need him at full tilt for the rest of the tournament. 8/10

6. Marcell Coetzee: The more he plays, the better he gets. His work on the ground offset the absence of a fetcher and Bismarck du Plessis’ loss. He hustled and bustled the Argentine defence and a move to number eight could suit his excellent cover defence. 8/10

5. Andries Bekker: Eased himself back into test rugby after a long absence. Did not hit as many rucks as he would have liked because of his back problems, but he owned the lineouts in a way that only he can do. 6/10

4. Eben Etzebeth: Was one of the key disrupters in the breakdown and lineout battle. Did not play as open a game as he does in Super Rugby, but the tight game needed him to graft, and graft he did. 7/10

3. Jannie du Plessis: Held up Rodrigo Roncero very well and at times bested the veteran. He improved his rather low fieldwork rate and hit the rucks hard. 7/10

2. Bismarck du Plessis: cannot be rated because of coming off early

1. Tendai Mtawarira:
Was an important figure in taming the Pumas scrum and put pressure on Juan Figallo. Gained plenty of metres with his trademark runs and attended plenty of rucks. 8/10

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