Saturday’s display in Perth was, to my mind, nothing short of a mess. The Boks conspired to lose against possibly the worst team the Aussies have fielded in a decade, yet insist that their outdated and outwitted game plan is a “work in progress” and they’re “on the right track”.
1. Beast Mtawarira. Battled up front and picked up a yellow card to boot. Not a great day at the office for Tendai. 3/10
2. Adriaan Strauss. Does his basics; offers nothing else. It’s a big step up to Test level and it is at this particular coalface where we find that Strauss is a very poor substitute for Bismarck indeed. 4/10
3. Jannie du Plessis. Came under pressure in the scrums, but did his bit on defence. 5/10
4. Eben Etzebeth. Likes to think he’s a hard man with his posturing and silly antics, but when it matters in the heat of battle, he’s pretty quiet. Plenty carries, but very few metres gained. 4/10
5. Juandre Kruger. The best Bok tight forward on the park, which unfortunately isn’t really setting the bar very high. 6/10
6. Marcell Coetzee. Tackled himself to a standstill and carried reasonably well. Not bad for a blindside flank being asked to play out of position. 6/10
7. Willem Alberts. You need to use this guy sparingly for maximum impact. When you give him the ball from a standing start on every move, the opposition quickly figures it out and simply gang tackles him. A horrible game from the big man, who just looked slow and confused. 4/10
8. Duane Vermeulen. Here’s a surprise – I don’t think this guy is match fit! You can accuse Keegan Daniel of a whole bunch of sins against Argentina, but regularly dropping the ball isn’t one of them. Vermeulen was, I’m afraid to say, awful on debut. 3/10
9. Ruan Pienaar. Added none of the desired spark at 9 and ended up looking just as slow and clumsy at the base as Hougaard had the week before. 4/10
10. Morne Steyn. Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. Is it the player’s fault or the coach’s fault? I’ve given up caring. 3/10
11. Francois Hougaard. Had few opportunities to do anything, but at least appeared to be trying to play a bit of rugby with ball in hand. 6/10
12. Frans Steyn. Bash, bash, bash, bash, kick. His two long-range penalties were beauts, but other than that, offered nothing on attack whatsoever. 5/10
13. Jean de Villiers. Was he even on the field? If so, what the hell was he doing there? 3/10
14. Bryan Habana. Showed some good smarts to figure out that the Boks’ sole “attacking move” of the game was going nowhere and acted quickly to right the ship – and score the only try. Had very little else to do. Probably chased a kick or two. 6/10
15. Zane Kirchner. You know what they say – hate the game, don’t hate the player. Kirchner executed the coach’s rubbish game plan to perfection and for that the player deserves just a bit of credit. 6/10
16. Tiaan Liebenberg. Not on for long enough to be rated. A mercy, actually, if his first line out throw was anything to go by.
17. Pat Cilliers. Made little difference when he came on and gave away a few penalties too. 4/10
18. Flip van der Merwe. Another test cap, another anonymous showing. All just par for the course for the big Bull. 4/10
19. Francois Louw. Battled with the pace of the game and added little impact. 4/10
20. Johan Goosen. Not on long enough to be rated but looked very good when he (shock) RAN THE BALL.
21. Pat Lambie. As above. Asked to perform miracles in fewer than 10 minutes and very nearly managed.
22. Lwazi Mvovo. Let’s just say that if he was hoping to show the coach that he shouldn’t have been dropped, then he probably failed in that objective. Not Lwazi’s best showing in green and gold. 3/10