Who do you think we’ve rated as the best of the best in France — Ox Nche, Pieter-Steph du Toit or Handre Pollard?
It’s just over a week ago that the Springboks beat the All Blacks 12-11 to win the Rugby World Cup in France to become the first four-time champions, and second back-to-back winners, after also winning in Japan in 2src19.
In the tournament, the Boks beat Scotland, Romania and Tonga in their pool, but lost to Ireland. In the knockout stages the Boks beat France and England in the quarters and semis respectively, and the All Blacks in the final.
Here’s how we rated the players’ performances over the whole World Cup, out of 1src.
Willie le Roux 6: The veteran fullback was mainly used as an impact player from off the bench, but started against Romania and Tonga. While he had some solid moments, like the tries he scored against Romania and Tonga and the good passes he made, he also made a number of basic handling errors, and looked past his best form.
Damian Willemse 7: He was the preferred option at fullback and didn’t disappoint — much like his celebrating since the team’s arrival back in South Africa. Was solid for the most part, competed well in the air, tackled strongly and kicked well from the back. He also brought all his attacking tricks to the tournament when the occasion allowed it.
Cheslin Kolbe 8: He was arguably one of the Boks’ stars of the tournament. He struggled somewhat against England in the air, but otherwise competed well throughout the tournament, ran hard at the opposition and put his body on the line in defence. He scored some great tries and his charge down of a conversion against France was a potential match-winning moment.
Makazole Mapimpi 6: One of the real stars of the 2src19 tournament only featured against Romania and Tonga before injury ended his tournament. He was in sublime form against Romania, scoring a hat-trick of tries and assisting a few others. He didn’t finish the game against Tonga, but played his part in the team’s win and ultimate success.
Kurt-Lee Arendse 7: The Bulls man was the surprise first choice in the No 14 jersey and enjoyed a memorable World Cup. Like Kolbe, found the going tough at times against England, but jumped high for balls in his other matches. He scored some excellent tries, he was solid defensively and prevented a certain try in the final with a great tackle in the corner.
Canan Moodie 6: One of the rising stars of SA rugby got only two opportunities to show off his abilities, and that at 13. He was sound against Romania and Tonga, without doing anything particularly special. Tackled well and had few attacking chances, though he scored a good try against Tonga.
Jesse Kriel 7: He took over at No 13 and enjoyed a World Cup to remember. He hardly put a foot wrong. Though he didn’t get many chances on attack, he was a huge presence in midfield, especially against France, where he also found space with an excellent kick for Kolbe to score a try. Sound in defence in a tight final.
Andre Esterhuizen 7: The big centre must have been close to playing in the “big” games such was his form. He was a big presence in attack, often carrying over the gainline, and in defence in the wins against Romania and
…. to be continued
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