Boks tired but triumphant

November 24, 2013
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The Springboks, frustrated and fatigued, achieved their year-end objective in their 19-10 victory over France in Paris on Saturday.

It wasn’t a classic. It wasn’t clinical and it wasn’t pretty.

But one can hardly criticise the performance of a Springbok side who, despite clearly running on empty, comfortably held a committed France outfit at bay to end a 16-year drought against Les Bleus on French soil and complete an unbeaten end-of-year tour.

In this instance, the result supersedes the performance.

Quintin van Jaarsveld of Rugby365 rates the Springbok players.

15 Willie le Roux
Found land with most of his attacking chips to put France under pressure and varied his play well to keep them in two minds on defence.
7/10

14 JP Pietersen
Ultra committed, making good on his promise to up his workrate. Excellent chasing to score an opportunistic charge-down try, which proved crucial. No chances to stretch his legs.
7.5/10

13 Jaque Fourie
Another underwhelming performance by a player who’s far from his best. Not necessarily a bad game but well below his lofty standards.
6/10

12 Jean de Villiers (captain)
Looked tired (one can hardly blame him). Missed a few tackles, rushed out of line on occasions and threw a poor pass to Pietersen. Ran hard till the end.
6/10

11 Bryan Habana
Good workrate as always and solid on defence but had little attacking opportunities and kicked straight down France’s throat when he opted to put boot to ball.
6.5/10

10 Morné Steyn
Steered the ship with aplomb in the first half and slotted all his kicks at goal. Not as influential in the second half and made a costly handling error.
7/10

9 Ruan Pienaar
The same old problem – slow to the ruck and slow to clear from the base. This time allowing the French back into the game by gifting them a try on half-time. A couple of good tactical grubbers into touch was the highlight of a poor outing.
4/10

8 Duane Vermeulen
The Springboks’ most effective ball carrier, outstanding on defence and won a line-out.
7/10

7 Willem Alberts
So physical and powerful, often driving ball carriers back. For a player under an injury cloud who “shouldn’t have played” according to coach Heyneke Meyer, he really put his body on the line. Slipped a few tackles but still won the official man of the match award.
7/10

6 Francois Louw
His hard work – sublime defence, world-class workrate and good ground game – was undone by ill-discipline, which worryingly crept into his game again.
6/10

5 Flip van der Merwe
The Springbok line-out struggled but Van der Merwe certainly wasn’t to blame. Losing the athletic Eben Etzebeth early on, Van der Merwe took responsibility, winning six and losing just one despite being targeted. He also did a ton of work on defence.
6.5/10

4 Eben Etzebeth
Not enough time to be rated.

3 Coenie Oosthuizen
Passed his tighthead test with an impressive scrum performance for the most part. Had an excellent first half in which he was great around the field and won a textbook turnover on the deck. Went missing a bit in the third quarter but finished strong.
7.5/10

2 Bismarck du Plessis
Really struggled with his line-out throwing, missed a tackle and conceded a penalty.
6/10

1 Tendai Mtawarira
Ticked the scrummaging and defensive boxes but could have carried the ball more.
6.5/10

Replacements:

16 Adriaan Strauss (on for Du Plessis, 66th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

17 Gurthrö Steenkamp (on for Mtawarira, 56th minute)
Held up his side of the scrum but fell off a couple of tackles. With plenty of young props on the horizon, he really didn’t make a compelling case to retain his place in the squad on the end-of-year tour.
6/10

18 Lourens Adriaanse (on for Oosthuizen, 73rd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

19 Bakkies Botha (on for Etzebeth, 15th minute)
A bit slower and less explosive, as evident in France’s line-out dominance, but the veteran did a decent 60-minute holding job.
6/10

20 Pieter-Steph du Toit (on for Alberts, 68th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Siya Kolis (on for Botha, 74th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Jano Vermaak
Not used.

23 Pat Lambie (on for Le Roux, 56th minute; on for Steyn, 72nd minute)
Not enough time to be rated (played just 12 minutes).

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16 Comments

  1. avatar Duiwel says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Just a thank you
    I haven’t the heart to criticize
    They done their best
    And won
    Thank you Bokke

  2. avatar Jacques(Bunny) says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 3:16 am

    Well these ratings is bullshit in any case.

    Boks played well and were better than Frogs. Won 13 out of the last 15 games they played and only lost to the AB.

    Great stuff and looking forward that we go one better next year.

    Our tackling was something special tonight to see the Frogs getting hit in almost every play.

    Happy chappy

  3. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 3:49 am

    @Jacques(Bunny):

    Totally agree… look no further than JDV… brilliant pick-up off the floor from a terrible pass, to huge acceleration instantly and then to a perfect draw and offload to JF for an awesome try (that wasn’t awarded for some obscure reason)… nothing tired there…

    And as for Bakkies… huge huge workload…

    As for any HM doubters… 87% success rate this year and equal Mallet overall…

    Awesome test rugby…

  4. avatar bryce_in_oz says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 3:51 am

    @Duiwel:

    Yep JPP, JDV and JF made you look rather foolish again innit!

  5. avatar Americano says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 4:07 am

    I get the feeling that Jacque Fourie has a leg up on everyone on the pitch when it comes to defense.

  6. avatar Craven says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Well done to the team, they did well this year and Well done to Heyneke. The team has really taken a step up this year from last. If we continue this trend we can look forward to two good years coming up.

    Just to add my voice to the Ruan naysayers, the guy’s passing to Morne was shocking at times, not acceptable, and then I’m not even talking about his two steps pass that cuts down our backline’s space and time with the defense running up. I do not think he is the answer, but who else?

  7. avatar Morné says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 8:36 am

    @Americano:

    It goes unnoticed to most scribes like the one who gave these ratings. Mossie is huge on defence.

    Well done Heyneke, management and Boks. The mission for 2014 is clear.

  8. avatar Christo (Vetgesmeerde Blits) says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 8:41 am

    The Boks had a very good year, well done to Heyneke and the team.
    There was a few problems but we never looked in any danger of loosing this game. Vermeulen, Alberts, Le Roux and Petersen were the best players on the field for me. Coenie must be carefull to scrum in on the angle, but he held his own and will get better, way too good a player to leave out. He needs game time at TH at the Cheetahs, that’s the only way he will improve.

    How safe has le Roux become under the high ball? His rounded performances and bravery at FB is the biggest possitive from this tour for me.

  9. avatar Morné says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Player of the year impossible to select between JDV, Eben, Flo, Alberts & Vermeulen.

  10. avatar Duiwel says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Boz,
    Ruaan pienaar passes a ball to the moon
    Morne Steyn fluffs it
    JDV picks it up runs straight without any flourish
    But offload to JF who runs tow yards for a disallowed try
    The might of our back line.
    If we had a proper back line
    We ed be NO1
    Simple
    JDV,JF are the two main reasons
    We are no2
    They are shit
    I’ve seen JF effort at “organizing defence
    Its shit
    JDV built his who rep
    with interception tries and now,
    Slower and creakier
    He ain’t even able to do that.

    It’s that simple
    Get a proper centre pair
    Or stay no 2

  11. avatar Duiwel says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 11:56 am

    If you cant see that
    Blatant in every game against all blacks
    You are blind as well as stupid

  12. avatar Duiwel says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Without any disrespect intended
    our bacline tries
    in a majority of our games
    Comes fron flukes.

    To have a clinical try
    by a back line that runs at speed with skill
    is left to habana and WlR.
    JP pietersen so try was a result of good pressure by the Bok line
    For twenty minutes on charge downs

    I watched JF call over players to the right side with a ruck forming
    countless times
    only for the ball to go left.

    A centre is there to gain advantage,at speed with a
    clear skill of hands,offload and speed.
    Neither JF or JDV has got that

    They tend to either drop it
    Knock it on
    Or be so slow and predictable
    that they are always caught with at least
    two defenders.

    Unless the oppo is scotland
    And even then
    They are prehistoric.

  13. avatar Duiwel says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    All said above
    they all played to the best of their abilities
    and won.

    To ask someone more than hos best
    Is unfair

    It is a selection problem
    as opposed to a player problem

    If you ask a fish to climb a tree
    The only result is that the fish will
    feel useless for his inability.

    HM hasn’t got any centers Who can run
    strong at speed,step or break tackles ,
    Offload to the left or right
    and tackle.

    So he compromises.

    That compromise leaves us
    At no 2

  14. avatar Duiwel says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Miertjie ,
    If my outside centers primary role
    was to hold the oppo up
    hoping for a turnover.
    Or
    Waving my right hand calling others to the defence
    (Then on at least 4 occasions)
    when the ball goes the other way
    JF would be the answer.

    But
    The centres’ main role is to provide space for the players outside them.
    They need to run good lines(run into spaces or at 90degrees to their opposition),
    be able to side step and swerve,
    have good passing skills and should be able to offload in a tackle.
    When the ball is moved along the opposition backline,
    the centres are the first players to make the tackle.
    They need to be aggressive tacklers to knock their opponent down and
    seize the ball
    and be good at organising the defensive lines.

    Unfortunately
    Our centre pair are merely able to manage the last sentence
    and do so mediocrely .
    Dont get brainwashed Boet

  15. avatar Americano says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    I dunno Duiwel. I keep looking for JDV to have a bummer game ( thankfully he seems to save those for his Stormers performances :-)
    But in Green & Gold this guy shows up big-consistantly. Hope he can keep form till WC.

    Fourie is shutdown @ 13 defensively. He is certainly serviceable offensively as well.

    Thing about test rugby is that its the nuance stuff that gets magnified. JDV grows a nose for the line, JF behaves as if he has seen any offensive move coming his way a million times and his demeanor in shutting it down is almost casual. This vibe permeates to the other members as he directs their positioning as well.

    The biggest reason I wanted the Messerschmitt- Willie LeRoux on the side was that he has a second sense for opportunity taking and creation. JF & JDV have this as well in the same vein as Willie but varied.

    Test rugby magnifies the stature of those that know where the ball is going and are ready to be there at the same time – this can be hard to quantify on a spreadsheet but Boks are looking pretty good right now.

    I still say those 2 games vs NZ were asterik-able. You guys can bitch & moan all you want but my point is that Willie adds a dimension that the world is not ready for as far as SA goes. The first NZ loss was obvious due to the commie ref – the second STARTED STILL-BORN. I firmly believe Boks would have won had the only goal been to win. Having to win & put in a Try-a-pa-looza vs the All Blacks? C’mon.

    SA is in far better stead vs NZ than most reckon. A LARGE factor in that is due to “the Little Engine That Could” Willie LeRoux.

  16. avatar Americano says:
    November 24th, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Morne -
    You mention player of the year options & don’t mention SunKing Willie. Is this just an innocent omission because you composed your post while texting and driving in rainy weather OR
    were you trying intentionally get my goat?

    No discussion/no wondering Willie is player of the year. If he’s not its due to he came from nothing to the top vs going through the normal beauty paegeant route of Bulls/WP etc.

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