Eben stands tallest among Boks

Eben Etzebeth was my pick as the best of the Springboks at Ellis Park.

How the Boks rated (out of 10)

15. Zane Kirchner – 6
Did not lack for effort but his decision-making was not always the best. His kick out on the full was a poor appreciation of the law and the All Blacks scored from the lineout.

14. Willie le Roux – 7
Busy and explosive in an attacking game that suited his style of play. He scored a good try and nearly had a second at the death. He has proved he can play at this level.

13. JJ Engelbrecht – 6
Had a very good first 30 minutes but fell off the pace in the second half.

12. Jean de Villiers – 8
Great try, some effective runs and good leadership. Did slip the tackle on Beauden Barrett’s try, which will haunt the inspirational captain.

11. Bryan Habana – 8
Two tries in the first 20 minutes and then he pulled a hamstring. Big loss.

10. Morné Steyn – 5
He did not enjoy an influential afternoon, but will never forget the day he bounced an All Blacks lock with ball in hand.

9. Fourie du Preez – 6
Did not have the same impact as he did against the Wallabies. He was good without being exceptional.

8. Duane Vermeulen – 7
Busy game and very confrontational and aggressive in everything he did. Strong with ball in hand and a menace defensively.

7. Willem Alberts – 6
Carried the ball strongly but was embarrassed by Kieran Read’s fend for the All Blacks first try.

6. Francois Louw – 7
Strong at the breakdown and set up Habana’s second try with a wonderful offload in the tackle.

5 Juandré Kruger – 3
A very ordinary Test. He was never in the game. Physically not a factor and poor at kick-off receives and anything contested in the air.

4. Eben Etzebeth – 8
He was the opposite of Kruger. Strong in the tackle, strong on the ball and strong in everything he did. He won’t be happy with a couple of lost lineout balls in the final quarter.

3. Jannie du Plessis – 6
Scrummed well but again not great defensively in general play.

2. Bismarck du Plessis – 6
Strong in the scrum but wasn’t at his best, given the standards he sets.

1. Beast Mtawarira – 6
Also scrummed well but poor discipline at times and fortunate not to get a yellow card for his elbow clean on Richie McCaw.

Subs:

16. Adriaan Strauss – 6
Busy in the loose but didn’t have the scrumming presence of Du Plessis.

17. Gurthrö Steenkamp – 5
Didn’t offer great impact in what had become a losing cause.

18. Coenie Oosthuizen – 4
Ordinary and added little impact as a tighthead replacement

19 Franco van der Merwe – 5
Made his Springbok debut, but didn’t add much in terms of impact.

20. Siya Kolisi – 7
Replaced the injured Alberts a minute before half-time and excelled. He was strong when attacking and stood his ground physically. Also made a try-saving tackle on Ma’a Nonu.

21. Ruan Pienaar – 5
Only played 10 minutes.

22. Pat Lambie – 5
Only played 10 minutes.

23. Jan Serfontein – 5
Played out of position on the wing when replacing Habana but looked lost positionally and it may have been better to play him at No 13 and Engelbrecht on the wing.

Referee:

Nigel Owens – 9
Controlled the match superbly. He was calm and certainly the Springboks could have no complaints about losing because of the refereeing.