Rassie Erasmus completely outsmarted his opposite number Eddie Jones. The Springboks completely outmuscled and outplayed the English. The vaunted Springbok pack delivered on the big stage completely annihilating the respected English scrum and laying the platform for an historic win. The Boks surprised England with their tactics as MyTwoCents thought they would. Rassie is too smart to telegraph a game plan to England.
STANDOUT PLAYERS – Duane Vermeulen was colossal. Deserved his Man of the Match award. Pieter-Steph was outstanding as was Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am … in fact there was not a single player in the Box team who had a bad game. Even Willie le Roux had his best game of the tournament. All is forgiven Willie … sorry for giving you a hard time! You stepped up when it counted.
LINEOUTS – 8 – Put pressure on the England line outs and managed own line out effeciently.
MAUL – 8 – Several strong mauls from the Boks that set up penalties and gained ground.
BOX KICKS/KICKS OUT OF HAND – 8 – Boks surprised by making very scarce use of a tactic that served them so well in the quarters and semis.
HIGH BALL – 9 – Barely lost a high ball. Something that had alluded them throughout the tournament came right at the perfect moment.
RESTARTS/EXITS – 9 – Duane controlled this department with some of his trademark bulldozing take and charges.
SCRUMS – 10 – Destroyed England in the scrums. Won scrum penalty after scrum penalty, gaining meters and accumulating points in the process.
DEFENCE – 10 – Brilliant defence by the Boks late in the first half to repel a sustained England attack was a great barometer for how the Boks defended throughout the match.
ATTACK – 8 – Looked dangerous in attack for the most part. Excellent finishes for both tries. Really had the England defence on the back foot.
DISCIPLINE – 8 – Excellent. Kept silly penalties to a minimum.
TACTICS – 10 – Rassie outsmarted Eddie Jones. First box kick only came in 10th minute from Faf. Their first box kick only came in the 10th minute with the Boks employing an aggressive ball in hand approach. Credit to Rassie, scrum coach Matthew Proudfoot, defence coach Jacques Nienaber and assistant coach Mzwandile Stick.
WILLIE LE ROUX – 8 – His best performance of the RWC so far. Took plenty of high ball, entered the backline well and kicked into space. Good early break but also got the ball knocked out of his hand to end a promising move.
MAKAZOLE MAPIMPI – 8.5 – Didn’t get much ball early on but looked for work. Contested for the high ball. Brilliant finish for his try with an excellent chip into space and positioning to receive the final pass.
DAMIAN DE ALLENDE – 8.5 – Was outstanding on defence and equally good on attack. One of South Africa’s players of the tournament.
LUKHANYO AM – 8.5 – Dropped a promising backline move in the first half but m ade up for it with a good break just before half time and then helped set up the Boks’ key first try.
CHESLIN KOLBE – 9 – Fittingly scored a sensational individual try to finish off the game. His defence was a major standout throughout. He was the Boks star player and is a very strong candidate for World Player of the Year.
HANDRE POLLARD – 8 – Held his nerve nailing 8/10 from the tee. A brilliant up and under and retake early was followed by a missed kick for goal and then a missed a penalty kick to touch. Showed composure to come back from his mistakes to kick some crucial penalties. A slip and conceded penalty at a key time almost gave away 3 points at terrible time. Got away with it. Overall a key performance.
FAF DE KLERK – 8 – Extremely busy as always. His defence was a major plus for the Boks as was his speedy distribution and well judged kicks. Stepped up when he needed to.
DUANE VERMEULEN – 10 – Nerve settling early high ball take to set the tone. Another turnover earned 3 points. Very strong over the ball and won crucial turnovers as Duane does. An amazing servant to SA rugby over the years. We hope he plays on.
SIYA KOLISI – 8.5 – Did a lot of the hard work in the breakdowns and on defence and his captaincy was composed. Deserves a lot of credit for guiding and uniting this team to glory. You are a legend Siya!
PIETER STEPH DU TOIT – 9 – Outstanding from the World Player of the Year nominee. Put plenty of pressure on the England team throughout the match. Works so hard in making tackles and giving forward momentum.
EBEN ETZEBETH – 8.5 – Gained valuable yards with ball in hand and was one of the defensive leaders. Skillful back of the hand pass got SA on the front foot.
LOOD DE JAGER – 7.5 – Off early (20th min) with a dislocated shoulder. Played well while he was on but hard to give a higher rating on such a short shift.
FRANS MALHERBE – 9 – Immovable object and completely dominated his opposite number in the scrums.
BONGI MBONAMBI – 7.5 – Promising start ended early along with Lood. Concussion.
BEAST MTAWARIRA – 9 – Key part of a dominant scrum. Wore his heart on his sleeve.
OFF THE WOOD:
Malcolm Marx gave away a penalty at a bad time … is there ever a good time to give away a penalty in the final?? He was strong otherwise. Franco Mostert was a workhorse. Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch took over where Beast and Malherbe left off.
REF: JEROME GARCES – 8 – So often the scourge of South African teams, he perhaps gave the Boks the benefit of the doubt in big moments such as the first try. Reffed the scrums properly giving South Africa deserved rewards for their domination. We don’t hate you anymore!