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Player ratings: Pride and passion

Sat, 05 Oct 2013 14:55
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De Villiers solidifies legacy with sterling performance
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The Springboks showed remarkable grit and determination in the 27-38 loss to the All Blacks in the epic Ellis Park showdown on Saturday.

The match was billed as the game of the year and exceeded the hype with the Springboks throwing everything at their great rivals.

The Boks’ all-or-nothing mentality – knowing they needed a bonus-point victory to wrestle the Rugby Championship trophy from the All Blacks’ grasp – and the heart and passion they displayed played a major role in making the Rugby Championship decider a battle for the ages.

Fittingly, no-one embodied the pride and passion of Springbok rugby more than inspirational captain Jean de Villiers, who solidified his legacy with a sterling performance.     

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Springbok players.

15 Zane Kirchner
His crucial mistake (kicking out on the full) ended up costing the Springboks the Rugby Championship but his overall performance was one of good attack and poor defence. Injected himself into the action like never before with 11 power runs in the first half alone and seven in the second but missed too many tackles.
6/10

14 Willie le Roux

Constantly asked questions with his attacking flair. His unpredictability made him a darling for the Boks and a nightmare for the All Blacks. Like Kirchner, though, he was poor on defence, missing four tackles.
7.5/10

13 JJ Engelbrecht

Not a bad outing by any means but his inexperience showed. Stepped a number of would-be defenders and put his outside backs into space with well timed and accurate passes.
6.5/10

12 Jean de Villiers (captain)

One of the best performances of his career in which he epitomised the heart of a champion and the will and desire to win. Showed dogged determination – highlighted by his fantastic try – and consistently penetrated the All Black midfield with his strong running.  
9/10

11 Bryan Habana

Absolutely electric and devastating. His second try was one of the best of his record-breaking career and he was well on his way to a famous hat-trick before he limped off. Some ordinary defence on Ben Smith cost him a higher rating.
8.5/10

10 Morné Steyn

Given the expansive approach, Steyn cannot be criticized for not dictating terms. He got the backline away but was a bit predictable, making just three runs, one of which he’ll savour when he bumped the much bigger Brodie Retallick. Missed two conversions.    
6.5/10

9 Fourie du Preez

Was caught a few times at the ruck but his distribution was on point and he showed his experience when he caught opposite number Aaron Smith at the back of the scrum to win a five-metre scrum for the Boks. Rushed up in the line on two occasions, the first in the lead-up to Ben Smith’s try.
7.5/10

8 Duane Vermeulen

Far and away the Boks’ best ball-carrying forward on the night and made all his tackles. Also made an excellent break and threw a perfect pass to put Habana in for his first try.
8/10

7 Willem Alberts

Not too many ball carries but put in some brutal hits, did very well to hold up Aaron Smith over the line and secured two line-out balls.
7/10

6 Francois Louw

As good an offload as you’ll ever see to put Habana into space to score his second try, made some valuable carries, was faultless on defence and contributed in the line-out.  
7.5/10

5 Juandré Kruger

Was found out at the restarts time and time again and was guilty of ball watching far too often.
5/10

4 Eben Etzebeth

Showed his full array of skills, which is so impressive for an international player of his age. He was the go-to man in the line-out, topped the Boks’ tackle count (seven) and made some barnstorming runs, most memorably his surge down the left wing.
8/10

3 Jannie du Plessis

His poor defence was exploited and he conceded a penalty at scrum time.
5/10

2 Bismarck du Plessis

Didn’t make the impact he was expected to make and wasn’t his accurate self in the line-out.
6.5/10

1 Tendai Mtawarira

Mobile across the park but didn’t make much ground with his carries and conceded a penalty in prime position.
6/10

Replacements:

16 Adriaan Strauss
(on for B du Plessis, 50th minute)
Couldn’t bring the required accuracy to the line-out and missed four tackles.
6/10

17 Gurthrö Steenkamp
(on for Mtawarira, 53rd minute)
Solid in all departments.
6.5/10

18 Coenie Oosthuizen
(on for J du Plessis, 50th minute)
For a loosehead scrummaging at tighthead against the best team in the world, he did well not to concede any penalties at scrum time.
6/10

19 Franco van der Merwe
(on for Kruger, 61st minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

20 Siya Kolisi (on for Alberts, 39th minute)
Stepped up in no uncertain terms. Made a sensational break and an unbelievable try-saving tackle on Ma’a Nonu.
8/10

21 Ruan Pienaar
(on for Du Preez, 70th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Pat Lambie (on for Kirchner, 70th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

23 Jan Serfontein (on for Habana, 22nd minute)
As a centre he was thrown in at the deep end having to cover on the wing and subsequently made some defensive errors.
6/10

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