Here's how we rated the Springbok performances in Paris on Sunday night
South Africa broke French hearts by grinding out a 29-28 victory to dump the hosts out of their own tournament at the quarter-final stage.
Here’s how we rated the Springbok performances in Paris.
South Africa player ratings
15. Damian Willemse – 6/10
Some big booming clearances from the back helped take the pressure off Libbok, not as central to the game’s proceedings as he would have hoped to be.
14. Kurt-Lee Arendse – 8
Did well to get ahead of Louis Bielle-Biarrey to prevent an early try in the corner from Dupont’s kick. Made the most of the loose ball to pounce for South Africa’s first try. Great take from a Pollard bomb.
13. Jesse Kriel – 8
Looked composed in his channel and executed a pinpoint grubber for Kolbe’s try, his winger did not even have to break stride. Couldn’t stop Baille from close range.
Some great defensive work in his channel as France continually tried to put width on the ball with varying degrees of success. Made the initial break that got South Africa deep in French territory for Etzebeth’s try.
12. Damian de Allende – 7
Made the break for and then finished the second try well. Very solid in midfield and France found it difficult to contain him.
11. Cheslin Kolbe – 9
Unable to stop Mauvaka’s try on his wing after Dupont tapped and went but made instant amends by charging down Ramos’s conversion attempt. Raced away to score a stunner of his own, showing Penaud a clean pair of heels.
Seriously elusive, breaking tackles with ease. A constant running threat and pain for any opposition to try and stifle. Inventive drop-goal attempt from the base of a ruck almost worked, unique stuff.
10. Manie Libbok – 6
Goal-kicking inconsistency shows no sign of waning, slotted the first conversion from the touchline before missing an easier one infield after De Allende’s score. Some reasonable clearances/up-and-unders but never threatened to unleash the expansive game we saw in the pool stages. Made way for Pollard five minutes into the second half.
9. Cobus Reinach – 6
His hanging box-kick wreaked havoc and led to Arendse’s try. Put himself about in defence, too but only lasted 45 minutes until they called for Faf de Klerk.
1. Steven Kitshoff – 5
Gave away a dumb penalty for going in at the side, luckily for Kitshoff, Ramos’s penalty didn’t have the legs. Scrummaging against Atonio was under O’Keefe’s microscope. Lucky to get away with just a knock-on with his last action at a ruck.
2. Bongi Mbonambi – 7
Plenty of endeavour but not always perfect in execution. The odd scruffy lineout was tempered by some efficient clearing of rucks, making ten tackles. Another great effort to go for nearly the whole 80 minutes after Fourie came on in the back-row.
Took over the captaincy and brave call to tap and go paid dividends for Etzebeth’s try. One huge turnover.
3. Frans Malherbe – 7
While his opposite man was scoring tries, Malherbe won a crucial scrum penalty against Cyril Baille after South Africa had bravely opted to pack down after calling a mark at the end of the first half.
Racked up 13 tackles, missing just two.
4. Eben Etzebeth – 7
Got a massive paw in the way of Gregory Alldritt’s pass which (somehow) was adjudged to have gone back by Ben O’Keefe. Then disrupted Fickou under the high ball for Arendse’s try but ended the first half in the sin bin after making head-on-head contact with Uini Atonio, which allowed France to take a slender half-time lead.
More like his usual self upon his return and was never going to be stopped from close range when he got motoring, giving his side a one-point lead with 13 minutes to go.
5. Franco Mostert – 7
A tackle machine, making 13 in the first half alone, five more than anyone else in the first 40. Added one more tackle but emptied the tank and was hooked after 45 minutes for RG Snyman.
6. Siya Kolisi – 5
Good counter-ruck on opposing captain Dupont but powerless to stop France making inroads at points. Didn’t look at the top of his game, perhaps the miraculous ACL recovery caught up with him. Replaced by Fourie after 46 minutes.
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit – 7
A dependable lineout option and showed his catching prowess further from a Libbok up-and-under in the first half with a stunning take at full stretch. A clear tactic to have him on the edge when exiting.
Phenomenal engine finally gave in on the hour mark when he went for an HIA before he returned for closing stages.
8 – Duane Vermeulen – 5
Anonymous by his lofty standards of old. Made just nine metres in the first 40. Good charge down on Jalibert early in the second stanza but he was replaced by Kwagga Smith after 50 before returning temporarily ten minutes later for Du Toit.
Ox Nche conceded one scrum penalty before winning another. Together with Vincent Koch, he swung the scrum battle South Africa’s way.
Kwagga Smith came up with a clutch jackal turnover which won his side a crucial three points.
Faf de Klerk had some pretty scruffy ruck ball but put a nice tap-tackle in on Charles Ollivon. He strayed offside which allowed Ramos to cut the lead to one after 72 minutes. Didn’t cost his side when he cynically threw the ball into a French player instead of trying to find Pollard in the pocket.
Handre Pollard put up a nice bomb that was excellently claimed by Arendse before adding some crucial points off the tee, including a long-range penalty to make it a four-point game with 11 minutes left.
Willie Le Roux dropped the ball stone cold in midfield when South Africa looked like they were building nicely.