Arendse Springboks World XV

Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a sensational try against England. Photo: SA Rugby

PLAYER RATINGS: The Springboks’ best backs from 2022

With the 2022 Test season having come to its conclusion, we dish out some key Springboks player ratings from this past year.

Arendse Springboks World XV

Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a sensational try against England. Photo: SA Rugby

In part one of this series, we specifically take a look at the Springboks’ backline stars from this past year, and hand out some player ratings.


The Springboks’ best backs of 2022

Damian Willemse (9/10)

This year would surely have even exceeded all of Willemse’s expectations as he played his part in a victorious URC campaign with the Stormers before firmly establishing himself as a first-choice regular for the Springboks.

Besides featuring in 12 Tests (starting in 11), the 24-year-old also gained experience in two key positions as he slotted in seamlessly at both fullback and flyhalf, while also providing cover at inside centre.

He finished the year with yet another mature all-round performance against England, which spoke volumes about just how much progress he made in what was a truly dream year on the Test stage.

Kurt-Lee Arendse (9/10)

Talking of dream years, Arendse is probably also still pinching himself after finishing his Test season with another stunning effort against England this past weekend.

There is no doubt that the speedster has been the Springboks’ breakthrough superstar in 2022, scoring seven tries in seven Tests.

The 26-year-old is now virtually assured of retaining a place in the run-on XV, with his X factor helping bring a new dimension to the Springboks’ ever-evolving attack.

Willie Le Roux (8/10)

Coming into this Test season, the veteran was being written off by some critics who believed it was time for South Africa to move on from Le Roux.

He responded with a series of incredibly consistent performances, once again proving himself to be a one-of-a-kind playmaker and attacking creator for the Springboks.

Along with his value as a leader and calming presence in the back three, Le Roux looks like the best bet to retain the No 15 jersey through to the 2023 World Cup.


Lukhanyo Am (7/10)

The experienced outside centre may have only featured in five Tests before injury struck, but he did enough during this time to earn a World Rugby Player of the Year nomination.

The 29-year-old certainly did underline his world-class attributes during the first half of the season, with his performances against the All Blacks in particular once again proving to be a cut above the rest.

Jaden Hendrikse (7/10)

Faf de Klerk may have wrestled back the No 9 jersey by the end of the year, but nothing should be taken away from Hendrikse, who enjoyed a highly-impressive Test season.

The 22-year-old started in seven Tests, while featuring off the bench in another three games, emphatically securing his place in the top two of the pecking order for Springboks scrumhalves as a result of several measured and mature performances. 


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