South Africa player ratings: Back three catch the eye in defeat to France

Kurt-Lee Arendse South Africa v France ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Kurt-Lee Arendse South Africa v France ANS 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Following their 30-26 defeat against France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Saturday, here’s the player ratings for South Africa.

15 Willie le Roux: Brought a calmness to the Springbok backline which was missing against Ireland last week. Looked dangerous on attack and eventually gained 57 metres. 8

14 Cheslin Kolbe: Worked well in tandem with Le Roux and Kurt-Lee Arendse as the visitors’ back three looked dangerous on attack, gaining 82 metres. Also caught the eye with impressive goal-kicking. 8

13 Jesse Kriel: Little interesting to report here. Although he had some attacking runs, he made little headway and was quiet otherwise. 5

12 Damian de Allende: Was prominent as a ball carrier and finished with 45 metres gained. Also did well on defence with nine tackles made. 7

11 Kurt-Lee Arendse: Continues to impress and was once again rewarded with a well-taken try. Kept Les Bleus’ defence busy and finished with a match-high 107 attacking metres. 8

10 Damian Willemse: Although he put in another brave performance, the jury is still out on him as a fly-half. Was solid on attack and defence. 6

9 Faf de Klerk: Came into the starting line-up and was in the thick of the action from the outset until he was replaced in the 60th minute. Also did well off the kicking tee. 8

Big effort from the forwards

8 Kwagga Smith: Was added to the run-on side when Japser Wiese withdrew due to concussion issues and gave a good account of himself during a 60-minute stint on the field. Was lively with ball in hand and asked plenty of questions of France‘s defence. 7

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit: Made little impact during a 12 minute stint on the field before being red carded for a head clash with Jonathan Danty. 4

6 Siya Kolisi (c): Led his troops well, especially when they were reduced to 14 players. Did well as a ball carrier and on defence. 7

5 Franco Mostert: He was at the forefront of their defensive display, with a team-high 10 tackles made, and looked dangerous in other areas. 7

4 Eben Etzebeth: Another fine showing at the coalface of South Africa’s forward effort, especially in the lineouts where he won nine balls and also caught the eye on attack and defence with 42 metres gained and six tackles made respectively. 8

3 Frans Malherbe: Was solid in the scrums and did not take a backward step at the set-piece but quiet in other areas. 6

2 Bongi Mbonambi: Left the field due to an HIA in the first half and made little impact when he came on. Was eventually permanently replaced by Malcolm Marx early in the second half. 5

1 Ox Nche: Like Malherbe, he did little wrong in the scrums but also caught the eye on defence and finished with seven tackles made. 7

Replacements: Despite Du Toit’s red card and Kolbe’s injury, the Boks coped well when they had make some alterations and their bench players came to the fore with fine cameos, especially from the likes of Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Deon Fourie. 7

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series: Antoine Dupont and Pieter-Steph du Toit sent off as France sneak past South Africa in thriller

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