Jesse Kriel Springboks

Springbok centre Jessie Kriel. Photo: @springboks/X

Player ratings: Best Springboks of 2023: Jesse Kriel

As the year draws to a close, we hand out some key player ratings to the top Springbok. Next up: Jesse Kriel.

Jesse Kriel Springboks

Springbok centre Jessie Kriel. Photo: @springboks/X

This generation of Springboks have cemented their status as the best “Cup” team of all-time, proving to posses the most incredible Big Match Temperament in a four year cycle that has returned two World Cup titles and a British & Irish Lions series victory.

Looking back on 2023, and in no particular order, we hand out some special ratings to the players we feel truly stood out for the Springboks this year.

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Prior to this season, there seemed to be a sentiment that Jesse Kriel was one of those Springbok players who fans simply loved to hate.

Of course, Kriel has never been the flashiest player who dominates headlines, but there is no one else who defied critics more effectively than the 29-year-old in 2023.

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With first-choice outside centre Lukhanyo Am suffering a serious injury on the eve of the World Cup, Kriel had to step into the No 13 jersey – and initially many critics were fearful it would be a massive blow to the team’s title prospects.

As it turned out, Kriel rose to the occasion in quite stunning fashion, producing a consistent series of gutsy performances in one of the most important and defensively challenging positions.

The muscular centre deserves immense credit for delivering arguably the best season of rugby in his international career, as evidenced by the fact he actually found a way to keep Am out of the No 13 jersey even when he returned to the team towards the end of the tournament.

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