Several Springboks earned glowing scores, despite their 38-27 Ellis Park defeat, on a New Zealand-based ratings chart after Saturday’s epic Rugby Championship encounter.
Sport24, NZ Herald
The country’s leading national newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, put the starting XVs head to head in a post-match form assessment on Monday, deciding that All Black players had overshadowed Bok counterparts in seven positions, with five equal and three going the way of South Africa after the universally-lauded clash.
Heading the Bok luminaries were captain Jean de Villiers, who registered a glowing nine out of 10 score to eclipse rival No 12 Ma’a Nonu by two points, lock Eben Etzebeth, who also earned nine (pipping Brodie Retallick, eight) and livewire left wing Bryan Habana, who got a rating of eight (All Black left wing counterpart Julian Savea earned seven) despite his untimely first-half exit through injury after crossing the chalk twice.
Etzebeth was deemed Bok player of the match on the Sport24 scorecard published on Saturday night, with a rating of 8.5.
The paper said of the big SA lock: “Among the game’s best. A strong young forward with the X-factor.”
De Villiers, meanwhile, earned this accolade: “Great running game, ran over (Beauden) Barrett for a try but missed him to concede try. Led magnificently.”
The stalemates, according to the Herald, came in these positions: No 10 (Aaron Cruden and Morné Steyn, 6/10 each), No 9 (Aaron Smith and Fourie du Preez, 7/10), No 6 (Liam Messam and Francois Louw, 8/10), No 3 (Charlie Faumuina and Jannie du Plessis, 6/10) and No 2 (Andrew Hore and Bismarck du Plessis, 6/10).
For the rest, All Blacks players dominated the card, with the biggest gulf occurring between the No 5 locks, Sam Whitelock and Juandré Kruger – the former scored a rosy nine whilst his South African rival trailed significantly with six.
This was the description of Kruger’s effort: “Not as noticeable as the other locks, struggled in the air, ponderous.”
Giving All Black No 8 Kieran Read the rare distinction of 10/10, the Herald nevertheless deemed opposite number Duane Vermeulen to have been anything but a disgrace as his registered eight himself: “Making No 8 (in the Bok side) his own, with more dexterity than the muscle-bound Pierre Spies.