The All Blacks deservedly held off a brief second-half charge by the Springboks to win 23-13. The game was ruined by a shocking performance by ref Jerome Garcia who seemed to get at least 7-8 knock-ons/forward passes wrong and battled to understand how the scrum works. That said a strong first-half performance, capitalising on South African mistakes earned the All Blacks the victory.
Bok tactics in the first half especially were poor and the overuse of the high ball just surrendered possession to a team that thrives on possession.
RASSIE ERASMUS: “They deserved to win. 2-1 in tries and 10-2 penalty count to them showed they had better discipline.”
“The referee was good,” he said with a smile. There is no doubt that was Rassie’s way of saying that the ref had a shocker!!
LINEOUTS – 7.5 – Didn’t lose any on own ball and stole one of NZ’s. Edged this department.
EXITS – 7 – No issues
MAUL – 6 – Didn’t get much chance to utilise their maul. A couple of decent mauls but nothing to write about.
BOX KICKS/KICKS OUT OF HAND – 4 – Kicking out of hand for touch was good but the box kick mostly backfired as the ABs were ready.
RESTARTS – 8 – No errors here with duties shared between Vermeulen and Le Roux who handled them well.
SCRUMS – 7 – Rock solid and unlucky not to win any scrum penalties. Struggled a bit when Malherbe came off.
DEFENCE – 7 – Started well but then several defensive lapses let in ABs for two easy tries in the first half. Defended manfully in the second half.
ATTACK – 5 – Lacked variation. Overuse of high ball and persisted with it even when it was clearly not working.
HANDLING – 5 – No less than 7 errors in first half way too many. Better in the second half.
HIGH BALL – 5 – Knocked on three in the first half, two of which led to AB tries. NZ completely dominated this area. Kolbe and Vermeulen (despite dropping one) were the only two to hold their own.
DISCIPLINE – 7 – Gave away the odd silly penalty but for the most part were very disciplined.
TACTICS – 4 – Very poor in the first half. Kicked so much possession away and failed to contest the high ball well.
WILLIE LE ROUX – 4.5 – Two good early claims under the high ball but then struggled after that. Up and unders too deep and just handed possession over. Took wrong options at times but occasionally looked dangerous on the break.
MAKAZOLE MAPIMPI – 5 – Good cover tackle to save a try but showed complete naivety in letting Reece get away to set up the first try for the ABs. NZ targeted his wing and he was left exposed.
DAMIAN DE ALLENDE – 6 – Defended well. Didn’t make too many breaks. Solid if unspectacular.
LUKHANYO AM – 6 – Solid on defence. Didn’t make any mistakes but didn’t get many opportunities with the Boks kicking tactics.
CHESLIN KOLBE – 10 – Absolutely brilliant performance. One of the few players to stand out for the Boks. Took on the ABs almost single handedly. Over 100 meters in carries. Took the high ball well and gave the ABs plenty of headaches.
HANDRE POLLARD – 6 – Not his best. 2/3 from the tee. Missed easy one but made up for it with a brilliant drop goal. Defence was good.
FAF DE KLERK – 5 – Poor pass almost created try for ABs. Box kicks weren’t accurate. Will be under pressure from Jantjies.
DUANE VERMEULEN – 8 – Usual reliable and robust display by the hardworking no. 8. Tackled well and ran hard.
SIYA KOLISI – 5 – Didn’t have much impact on the game. Subbed after 50 mins for Flo. Didn’t lead from the front.
PIETER STEPH DU TOIT – 6.5 – Mixed bag. Gave away a few penalties but good in line outs. Great vision for his try.
EBEN ETZEBETH – 7 – A couple of barnstorming runs. Made his tackles and took lineouts.
FRANCO MOSTERT – 7 – Missed tackle for AB second try. Good line out steal. Full energy throughout.
STEVEN KITSHOFF – 7 – Won early penalty. Very strong in the scrums. Made tackles and got around the park. Subbed in 67min.
MALCOLM MARX – 7 – Got through plenty of work. Lineout throwing was accurate for the most part. Didn’t impact much on the game though. Replaced after 61mins.
FRANS MALHERBE – 6.5 – Strong in the scrums and made tackles. Subbed after 54 mins.
OFF THE WOOD:
RG SNYMAN – Not enough to get rated
FRANCOIS LOUW – 6 – Made tackles and got involved.
TREVOR NYAKANE – Not enough to get rated. Went off with an injury.
BEAST MTAWARIRA – Not enough to get rated.
BONGI MBONAMBI – Not enough to get rated.
JESSE KRIEL – 6 – Tried to inject some energy into the Box backline but couldn’t breach the AB defence.
FRANS STEYN – n/a
HERSCHEL JANTJIES – Not enough to be rated.
REF – JEROME GARCES – 1 – Had an absolute shocker. One of the weakest refs in world rugby. Reminiscent of Bryce Lawrence’s performance in the 2011 quarterfinal against Australia. Got at least 7 knock ons/forward passes wrong. Completely misjudged the scrums. Had no idea at the breakdown. He actually got very little right. SA lucky to get away with not getting yellow card when Mapimpi failed to release Mo’unga.