It was an arm wrestle just as everyone expected. The game was punctuated by a lot of kicking with very little for the fans to chew on bar a few breakaway moments. In the end South Africa deserved the win but almost gave it away with multiple soft penalties at inopportune moments. The game of arial ping pong was eventually broken when SA blinked first – their first real attempt at opening the game up resulted in a try. Wales came back almost immediately and a period of sustained pressure got them back on level terms. Handre Pollard made a big difference with his composure under immense RWC semifinal pressure.
STANDOUT PLAYERS – Pollard was our Man of the Match taking his fair share of high balls and kicking well for position. He also attacked the gain line at times but he really made the difference with his kicking for posts in tough conditions. Damian de Allende ran him close with his outstanding solo try and overall work rate. Faf de Klerk also deserves an honourable mention for his best game of the competition so far.
RASSIE – Nerve wracking in the end having lost previous 4 games against them … it could have gone either way. We had a bit of luck, but huge respect to Wales and their coach.
We are only halfway there and we are playing a class team, England, in the final.
LINEOUTS – 8 – First Bok line out only came on 27 mins – we knew that Wales would try to avoid lineouts. The Boks lost their first one of the entire RWC 2 mins later. Competed against the opposition throw and won a few key ones.
MAUL – 8 – Used to good effect. Created a penalty that lead to 3 points. Also gained significant ground by switching the pressure points from side to side.
BOX KICKS/KICKS OUT OF HAND – 7 – Much improved in this department from Faf – especially a crucial one in the last few minutes that kept Wales in their own 22. Pollard made some very well judged kicks throughout the game.
HIGH BALL – 5 – Wales dominated this facet of the game but Willie made up for some of his usual errors by taking a few difficult ones in the air.
RESTARTS/EXITS – 9 – Rock solid as always.
SCRUMS – 9 – First 20 mins even but won a big scrum and 3 points
DEFENCE – 9 – Gave away very little. Nkosi guilty of running up out of his line almost cost us but the tackling was once again outstanding.
ATTACK – 6 – Very dull once again. There weren’t many moments of attacking rugby from either side.
DISCIPLINE – 5 – Ironically let them down on the day, despite this having been one of the Boks’ best areas of the tournament so far. Crucial soft penalties given away at the wrong times cost the Boks.
TACTICS – 6 – Both teams employed strangling tactics with alot of kicking. At this point in the competition neither team was going to change anything dramatically.
WILLIE LE ROUX – 5 – Wrong option gave away early penalty. Then gave away another silly penalty and 3 points just after the Boks had taken the lead. Took one or two brave up and unders. Yet another fumble under the high ball under no pressure will keep Rassie very nervous about selecting him for the final.
MAKAZOLE MAPIMPI – 6.5 – Relatively quiet but not his fault as he barely saw the ball.
DAMIAN DE ALLENDE – 9 – Continued good form from recent games. Made some great bulldozing yards in midfield and then scored a brilliant solo try.
LUKHANYO AM – 7 – Defensively solid. Didn’t give anything away but the game plan didn’t allow for him to play much either.
S’BU NKOSI – 6 – Good run set up penalty for first points but still a bit of a concern in terms of his understanding of the defensive patterns.
HANDRE POLLARD – 9 – Very solid and composed performance – exactly what you want from your flyhallf in a big game. Took his kicks well and was good under the high ball. Kicked superbly out of hand and was 5/5 from the tee.
FAF DE KLERK – 7.5 – Kicked a lot better than in previous games. Defence was aggressive again. Also made some key kicks at key times – none other than a risky banana kick with a few minutes to go that just landed in the playing field. One or two errors that need to be tidied up.
DUANE VERMEULEN – 7.5 – Immense in the loose and with ball in hand. Lost one ball in contact but otherwise kept a cool head. Powerful run from a restart took Welsh prop Francis out of the game. His composure in a key position was invaluable.
SIYA KOLISI – 6.5 – Prominent in the loose and also in the backline on occasion. Did a lot of the dirty work and showed good leadership.
PIETER STEPH DU TOIT – 8 – Lead the team in tackles and always in the opposing team’s face. Never lets the team down.
EBEN ETZEBETH – 7 – Won an early turnover and was consistently good throughout the game.
LOOD DE JAGER – 7 – Made some big tackles, gained ground with some decent ball carrying.
FRANS MALHERBE – 7.5 – A rock in the scrums and on defence. An immovable object and invaluable to the cause.
BONGI MBONAMBI – 7.5 – Busy, no frills but no mistakes performance. Perfect for a RWC seminfinal.
BEAST MTAWARIRA – 7.5 – Channeled his aggression effectively on the day. Key part of the best pack in world rugby.
OFF THE WOOD:
Francois Louw gave away a silly penalty … but made up for it with a crucial turnover towards the end of the game. RG Snyman put pressure on Wales’ lineout and Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch and Malcolm Marx won a few scrum penalties.
REF: JEROME GARCES – 8 – Had a good game and I am not just saying that because the Springboks won. Must have studied up on how the scrums work as he rewarded the Bok dominance. Did not make any glaring errors although there were one or two small ones against each team.