The veteran made his first start for the Boks since the 2011 World Cup against the selfsame Australians and he proved that class is indeed permanent. He dictated the pace of the game with his speed to the breakdown and excellent distribution and showed that he’s undoubtedly South Africa’s best option at No.9. In the pack, vice-captain Adriaan Strauss led the charge while Eben Etzebeth enjoyed another stellar Test outing.
Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Springbok players.
15 Zane Kirchner
Rock solid in all departments and got much more involved on attack, making 10 runs in total and dotting down.
14 Willie le Roux
Did exceptionally well to score with no room to work with, chased well and contested particularly well in the air.
13 JJ Engelbrecht
A rather quiet outing but showed good presence of mind on the break to sum up the situation and feed Kirchner on his inside for his try.
12 Jean de Villiers (captain)
Continued his rich vein of form with another outstanding performance. Caused plenty of problems with his strong running, threw a sublime pass to create Kirchner’s try and won a penalty on the deck. Made some curious captaincy calls, though, not to chase the bonus point sooner.
11 Bryan Habana
Full of enthusiasm and energy which showed he hasn’t lost any of his hunger for Test rugby. Went looking for work but didn’t get any real opportunities on attack.
10 Morné Steyn
Satisfactory best sums up his 50th Test. Enjoyed being reunited with his old Bok and Bulls partner and kept the continuity on attack but some minor uncharacteristic errors (such as kicking out on the full) slipped into his game.
9 Fourie du Preez
His influence was apparent in the high tempo at which the Boks played the game. His distribution – in which he showcased a full array of passes – was immaculate in its crispness and accuracy and his vision to identify the ideal standoff and support runners (see Strauss’ try) exceptional. Slowed down in the second half but clearly a player who hasn’t lost any of his class.
8 Duane Vermeulen
A massive presence across the park, even outworking the more mobile Francois Louw in the first half, but was on the wrong side of the referee all game, giving away three penalties and ultimately being yellow carded.
7 Willem Alberts
Not his strongest game. His workrate and physicality wasn’t at its usual high standards and he fell off a couple of tackles.
6 Francois Louw
One of the Boks’ most industrious ball carriers but like Alberts wasn’t at his best. Most importantly, he blew hot and cold at the breakdown, winning two turnovers but also conceding two penalties.
5 Flip van der Merwe
Had a solid game and was particularly accurate at the restart before seeing yellow for a dangerous leading elbow in the tackle.
4 Eben Etzebeth
Most impressive of his all-round spectacular performance was his uncanny workrate for a man of his sheer size. He was in the thick of the action in the tight loose, made a peerless 12 tackles and dominated the line-out with seven takes.
3 Jannie du Plessis
Not quite the 50th Test performance he would have envisioned, conceding an early scrum penalty and contributing just a few carries.
2 Adriaan Strauss
A near faultless display all-round and a top contender for man of the match before being replaced after 49 minutes. Great ball carries, which included him scoring the opening try, a perfect 10-0 record at line-out time and won a breakdown penalty.
1 Tendai Mtawarira
A mobile display, highlighted by his centre-like show and go.
16 Bismarck du Plessis (on for Strauss, 49th minute)
Brought his trademark physicality and worked hard on defence but saw two of his line-out throws being stolen.
17 Gurthrö Steenkamp (on for Mtawarira, 53rd minute)
Held up his end at scrum time and made all his tackles.
18 Coenie Oosthuizen (on for J du Plessis, 66th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
19 Juandré Kruger (on for Van der Merwe, 59th minute)
Squandered two line-out balls inside the attacking 22 with the Boks pushing for a bonus point.
20 Siya Kolisi (on for Alberts, 59th minute)
Burst on to the pitch but ultimately didn’t quite make the impact the coaches would have hoped for with just three carries and three tackles and he conceded a penalty.
21 Ruan Pienaar
22 Pat Lambie (on for Kirchner, 77th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
23 Jan Serfontein (on for Engelbrecht, 57th minute)
An underwhelming cameo in which he struggled to assert his dominance with ball in hand and even came off second best in a collision involving Sitaleki Timani.