Springboks v Ireland Loftus

The Springboks against Ireland at the 2023 World Cup. Image: @Springboks / Twitter / X

SPRINGBOK PLAYER RATINGS: Excellence amid the heartbreak

The Springboks will be left wondering ‘what if’, after slumping to an agonising five-point defeat at the World Cup. Here we hand out some key player ratings.

Springboks v Ireland Loftus

The Springboks against Ireland at the 2023 World Cup. Image: @Springboks / Twitter / X

The Springboks produced a good enough performance against Ireland, but poor execution saw them lose 13-8 to Ireland at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday.

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15. Damian Willemse 8/10

Apart from coming in off his line which led directly Ireland’s opening try in the first half, Willemse was gold. He was full of running from the back and his lethal stepping tied the Irish defence in knots.

14. Kurt-Lee Arendse 7/10

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Arendse might be small in stature, but he plays with a big heart. There were limited attacking opportunities in the first half, but the diminutive winger showed he is worth his weight in gold on defence, making several dominant tackles and making a vital turnover to stop an Irish attack in its tracks. Also very good in the air.

13. Jesse Kriel 7/10

The Springboks’ multi-purpose man wasn’t as flashy as some of his peers, but Kriel was a brick wall in that Springboks defence. Made a couple of good carried through the middle too.

12. Damian de Allende 8/10

The best of the backline lot. For all the pre-game talk of Ireland’s Bundee Aki being the best inside centre in the world, De Allende rocked up and gave the type of performance that said ‘Who’s the best 12 now?’. A man-mountain in midfield, De Allende first took Garry Ringrose to the cleaners with a barnstorming run over the Irishman and then did the same to Johnny Sexton in a matter of minutes in the first half.

11. Cheslin Kolbe 6/10

Scored the Springboks’ first try, but was isolated in out on the left wing and was there subdued for large parts of the game.

10. Manie Libbok 6/10

His goal kicking was a bit erratic once again, but other than that he gave a solid performance. He was one of the casualties when Aki sprinted through the heart of the Springboks’ defence, but there were no major errors on his part.

9. Faf de Klerk 7/10

Deft touches, box kicks, darting runs to draw in defenders. This was a typical Faf performance. Settled, calm and exactly what the Springboks needed.

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8. Jasper Wiese 7/10

Many questioned his selection ahead of that of Duane Vermeulen, but the coach’s call was vindicated with Wiese playing excellently. Disrupted Ireland’s breakdown.

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit 7/10

A common theme with Du Toit is that he just keeps on going. And his massive engine put in another big shift today.

6. Siya Kolisi 6/10

A good overall performance from the skipper. Looked to be in for a try for all money in the first half when he made a move to latch onto a pop pass close to the tryline, but the ball was knocked on.

5. Franco Mostert 8/10

Superb for the 45 minutes he was on the field. Along with his second row partner, they stole Ireland’s first four line-outs. Also did brilliant work to halt Ireland’s attempt at driving mauls.

4. Eben Etzebeth 8/10

Played like a man possessed in the first half. Even in two packs filled with extraordinary forwards, Etzebeth stood head and shoulders above the rest. A pity that he was taken off so soon after the half-time break

3. Frans Malherbe 7/10

Conceding one scrum penalty for overextending, but other than that he was solid.

2. Bongi Mbonambi 7/10

The with added pressures of now being the Springboks’ primary hooker, he did well throughout the match.

1. Steven Kitshoff 7/10

Did is primary job well enough, but Kitshoff was unusually ineffective at the breakdown and in the collisions.

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Springboks v Ireland graphic
Ireland beat the Springbok on Saturday. Photo: @Springboks / Twitter.