Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Boks
Jean de Villiers’ Springboks secured their maiden away win as they came from behind to beat Ireland 16-12 in Dublin on Saturday.
In a match of contrasting halves, the Springboks showed good composure to reduce a nine-point half-time deficit and kept the Irish scoreless in the second stanza.
Irish-based Ruan Pienaar was pivotal, showing his experience and taking plenty of responsibility on himself. He was key, as was Francois Louw, who was a standout at openside flank.
Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Springbok players.
15 Zane Kirchner
Perhaps the biggest positive of his performance was his kicking with both feet. He rarely backs himself with the left boot and it worked on the night.
14 JP Pietersen
A great physical presence and started like a house on fire. Steamrolled Jonathan Sexton before harshly being yellow-carded for his early tackle on Chris Henry that took much of the sting out of his performance.
13 Jaco Taute
His midfield introduction to Test rugby is doing him – and Juan de Jongh – a disserve. He’s just not entirely comfortable at outside centre and the combination of him and De Villiers isn’t gelling.
12 Jean de Villiers
Predictable yet effective on attack with a number of strong, direct runs that gave the Boks go-forward ball. Outstanding on defence and smart captaincy, instructing Pienaar to kick at goal from over 60 metres out to eat up Pietersen’s time in the bin and calling for the line-out which resulted in Jamie Heaslip’s sin-binning and Pienaar’s try.
11 Francois Hougaard
Once again found wanting on defence and conceded three penalties. He will surely be dropped from the run-on side.
10 Pat Lambie
His attacking potency was diluted by the way in which the Irish forwards fronted up physicality. A much better second half when he had front foot ball to work with but ultimately had a frustrating night.
9 Ruan Pienaar
His decision-making was spot on and as aforementioned he took the onus upon himself to spark the comeback. His kicking out of hand, particularly in the second half, was exemplary and he scored the decisive try.
8 Duane Vermeulen
Made 13 big hits and contributed in the line-out and at the breakdown. As a combination, the Bok back row gets better with every game.
7 Willem Alberts
Such a vital physical force in the tight loose, he smashed the Irish forwards back with 12 bone-crunching hits.
6 Francois Louw
Another European-based Bok who turned in an impressive performance. He made an unrivalled 16 tackles, slipped none, won a number of turnovers and looked for the offload on attack.
5 Juandre Kruger
Very industrious in general play but hardly featured in the line-outs.
4 Eben Etzebeth
The go-to man in the line-out with six takes, he also poached a couple against the throw and made 13 tackles.
3 Jannie du Plessis
Rock solid in the scrums and made a crucial cover tackle. Quite remarkable given his workrate this season.
2 Adriaan Strauss
Won the ‘family feud’ against cousin Richardt thanks to his strong ball-carrying and accurate line-out throwing.
1 CJ van der Linde
Conceded a string of penalties on his less favourable side of the scrum.
16 Schalk Brits
17 Heinke van der Merwe (on for Van der Linde, 63rd minute)
Not enough time to be rated but made a major impact in the scrums.
18 Pat Cilliers (on for Du Plessis, 55th minute)
Very mobile, high workrate and decent scrummaging.
19 Flip van der Merwe (on for Etzebeth, 70th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
20 Marcell Coetzee (on for Alberts, 64th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
21 Morne Steyn
22 Juan de Jongh
23 Lwazi Mvovo