Keo.co.za brings you the Bok player ratings from their Test against the All Blacks at King’s Park.
Ratings out of 10
15 Frans Steyn – 7
Repeatedly used his massive boot to good effect, resulting in raking touch-finders, while his deft left-footed relieving kick after the half-time siren had sounded set up the final three points of the first half. Despite moving to Racing Metro, there should be an investment made in keeping Steyn in the Bok No 15 jersey.
14 JP Pietersen - 6
With little opportunities from set play he performed in his job of pressuring the Blacks’ back three, who often chose to run from deep. He chased an early up and under brilliantly, hit Mils Muliaina, and then got straight onto his feet to force the first penalty. Also showed nice touches such as good use of the left boot. Was yellow carded for a high tackle on Jimmy Cowan, but fortunately it only cost his side three points as Isaac Ross was sin-binned four minutes later. Eased off as the match progressed, and missed tackles on Sitiveni Sivivatu at times when the winger shouldn’t have been allowed any space.
13 Jaque Fourie – 8
As the Kiwis opted to take the ball away from the Bok pack, Fourie fielded the first three kick-offs as he soared through the air. His communication in defence was apparent and he put in a monstrous cover tackle on Muliaina, but did miss what could have been a crucial hit on Ma’a Nonu.
12 Jean de Villiers - 6
His 50th Test and was solid, if not spectacular in attack and defence, but threw a couple of wild passes. Subbed with 10 minutes to go and the King’s Park crowd gave him a rapturous applause.
11 Bryan Habana - 6
Like De Villiers he also led the team out as he was playing his 50th Test, and also did the basics expertly.
10 Morne Steyn 9
Was brought in for his goal-kicking and slotted nine from 10, and racked up all the Boks’ points – a Tri-Nations record. He started questionably as his first kick-off went directly into touch, but grew from there. Backed himself to score after a great step off his right foot to flummox the covering defenders. Varied his general play, but will still need to work on taking the ball flatter as well as with his option-taking. He is perfectly suited to the approach the Boks are now adopting.
9 Fourie du Preez – 7
He charged down and continually harassed Jimmy Cowan at the base of the ruck and scrum. Was crucial in setting up Morne Steyn’s try as he poached the ball and his sharp decision to send the ball out wide produced the result. Steyn will receive the plaudits, but the flyhalf will be grateful for the service and decision-making of his No 9.
8 Pierre Spies - 7
Showed good positional sense and was solid in the air fielding many kicks. Was used well as a runner, but for some reason he wasn’t utilised off the back of a solid scrum, where he was so successful last week. When Bakkies Botha was off, he did well at the back of the set-piece, which was under pressure at that time. Has produced two of his best Tests back to back.
7 Juan Smith – 6
Support play was solid, but a dropped pass with the Boks pressuring early in the second half ruined a clear scoring chance. Was subbed after 65 minutes by Danie Rossouw.
6 Heinrich Brussow – 7
Made a crucial steal with seven minutes remaining of the first half with the Boks under severe pressure, as well as turning over Sivivatu midway through the second half. Was always slowing down the visitors’ ball and produced yet another sterling effort.
5 Victor Matfield – 6
His hands let him down on occasions and he strangely opted to use the chip-kick when standing in the backs. The lineout was dominant again and was crucial in again setting up a platform for the backs.
4 Bakkies Botha – 7
His cover tackle on Joe Rokocoko was reminiscent of last year’s fixture at Twickenham. Unflappable at receiving kick-offs, but was yellow carded for an early tackle on Conrad Smith when the centre looked likely of scoring. During his time off, the Blacks cut the deficit by three, and this was the only blot on his card. He returned to make his presence felt again.
3 John Smit – 7
Broke the world record for becoming the most capped Test captain and delivered another industrious effort. Made a try-saving tackle on Conrad Smith, as well as one text-book hit on Joe Rokocoko. Again fared well at the scrum, but without Bakkies Botha midway through the second stanza, the Bok scrum understandably creaked. Was solid with ball in hand and came inches short of scoring with 12 minutes remaining. Was greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd when he left the park with two minutes left, and that showed their appreciation for the leader.
2 Bismarck du Plessis – 7
Strong in contact and regularly ripped ball off the opposition. Again was strong with ball in hand as a willing ball-carrier, and it’s no coincidence the Bok scrum is so strong with him there.
1 Beast Mtawarira – 8
On his 24th birthday he gave Owen Franks a torrid time at the scrums. The way the Boks marched back the Blacks’ scrum towards the end of the match was heartening, and was largely due to Mtawarira’s dismantling of Franks. Industrious all-around the park and his 25m run where he burst away from backs showed his value with ball in hand. Was a menace in defence too, his hit on Rodney So’oialo late in the encounter just one example.
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle –
Not enough time to be judged.
17 Jannie du Plessis –
18 Danie Rossouw – 6
Replaced Smith with 15 minutes left, and was a bruiser in defence.
19 Andries Bekker –
Not enough time to be judged.
20 Ricky Januarie –
21 Adi Jacobs –
22 Wynand Olivier –
By Grant Ball, at King’s Park