Home town boys Heinrich Brussow and Bismarck du Plessis gave their disciples in Bloemfontein much to celebrate with outstanding performances.
15 Frans Steyn (6) - Few attacking opportunities, especially from broken field, in the first half, but became more prominent as the game opened up in the second. Still takes some poor options but his value is in his unpredictability and ability to commit numerous defenders, thereby freeing up space for those on his outside. Also kicked a 52m penalty.
14 JP Pietersen (5) - First handled the ball 34 minutes into the Test and not that often after that. Not called upon to make many tackles, but never let the side down when he was.
13 Jaque Fourie (6) – Like Pietersen, his involvement on attack was limited by decisions his inside backs were making, but the class of the man was seen in the fact that he was on hand to score when it mattered most.
12 Jean de Villiers (6) - A hybrid of the good and distinctly ordinary. Showed nice awareness to pop the ball up to Ruan Pienaar in the flyhalf’s try, but played too directly at times, targeting Stephen Donald when he should have been looking to attack the 10-12 channel. On defence he kept a lid on Ma’a Nonu and led the defensive line well alongside Fourie.
11 Bryan Habana (5) - Chased and competed box kicks well, but was in the same boat as fellow winger Pietersen in seeing little ball in the opposition’s half. Both wingers have in the past shown that they are dangerous when they play off their wing and hit up in the flyhalf or midfield channel, and the Springboks would have benefited from having that dimension to their play.
10 Ruan Pienaar (5) - Substituted with an injury at half-time, but his poor goal-kicking in the first 40 minutes is cause for alarm, as he sunk just one from five attempts, including missing one just before half-time that would have given the Springboks a 14-point lead. On attack he was average with the highlight of his performance being when he doubled around in support, creating the overlap for his try.
9 Fourie du Preez (7) - Does he ever have a bad game? The simple answer is no. His box kicks were more often than not perfectly weighted, and his positional play in fielding kicks was flawless. Should probably have varied his play a little more though, but a strong performance nonetheless.
8 Pierre Spies (6) - Drove well off the back of the scrum in the lead up to Pienaar’s try, and central to the second as well, hacking the ball ahead and effecting the tackle on the player who collected it. Tackled manfully all game. Did well with ball in hand considering that the Blacks’ often posted two defenders to blunt him.
7 Juan Smith (6) - Lost count of how many tackles he made. Phenomenal defensive effort. Also showed superb desire by running in support of Spies in the second try, then making the pass to Fourie. Less of an impact with ball in hand though, but still good in his role as a strike runner on second and third phase.
6 Heinrich Brussow (8) - Excellent at the breakdown, stifling the Blacks’ ability for recycle the ball quickly, and this was key in restricting the Blacks’ ability to pressure the Springboks. Considering the fact that he gives up at least 10kgs to most of the Blacks’ forwards, he never stepped back in defence and also carried the ball with determination.
5 Victor Matfield (7) - The lineout master, excelled in his area of specialisation. He snatched the ball out of the Bloem sky, but his true value was his ability to disrupt the Blacks’ feeds. He had their number, they knew it, and they cracked.
4 Bakkies Botha (6) - Typical Bakkies performance. Physically intimidating, and uncompromising in his ruck cleans. The big man put in an even bigger performance.
3 John Smit (7) – Held his own against the highly-rated Tony Woodcock, and got on with the hard graft that gets few plaudits. Lead well throughout the contest, his presence alone brings a sense of composure to the side. That’s invaluable.
2 Bismarck du Plessis (8) - Now becoming the heartbeat of this side. More physically imposing on attack and defence than Botha, and unrelenting in both facets of play. He sets the marker for physicality and intensity in the side. Let’s not forget that he found his jumpers on seven of eight feeds. Great performance.
1 Beast Mtawarira (7) - Like Du Plessis, displayed phenomenal physicality, particularly in defence. Struggled in the scrums at first, but then rebounded well to achieve parity.
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle - Not on for long enough to be rated
17 Jannie du Plessis - Not on for long enough to be rated
18 Danie Rossouw - Not on for long enough to be rated
19 Ryan Kankowski - Not used
20 Ricky Januarie - Not on for long enough to be rated
21 Morne Steyn (6) - On at half-time in place of the injured Pienaar, and kicked a penalty two minutes after his introduction and finished with three from four attempts at goal, including a 51m effort to seal the result. He did slip the tackle that allowed Conrad Smith to break and score, but that was a rare blip in an otherwise steady showing.
22 Wynand Olivier (5) - On in the 68th minute, and his contribution was limited to defensive duties, which he did well.
By Ryan Vrede