Cape Town – The Springboks produced a Test match display they would rather forget against the All Blacks at Ellis Park at the weekend.
The result was disappointing, to say the least, as the Boks should have known that the New Zealanders wouldn’t hold anything back given the horror run of results they’ve suffered this season.
In saying that, it was more a case of the Boks being poor than the Kiwis being next-level good.
Nevertheless, major improvement will be needed Down Under.
Here, Wynona Louw looks at five players who are going to have to make a major step up in the back-to-back games against the Wallabies.
He is usually a standout for all the right reasons but at the weekend, he was poor.
Playing in his first Test of the season after completing rehab after knee surgery, the 36-yearold’s struggles with match fitness shouldn’t have come as a surprise, and starting with Jasper Wiese, who replaced him in the 35th minute, would have been a safer bet.
Granted, “should have” and “could have” calls are always easier in hindsight, and had Vermeulen been his usual menacing presence, this would have been a non issue. But, regardless, this one was quite obvious.
In terms of execution, the scrumhalf generally kicked well out of hand, but he was just way too easy to read, and his slow play didn’t do his game – already lacking variety – any favours.
He has shown what he can do, and getting back to the kind of form that got him the nod above Cup-winner Faf de Klerk in the threematch series against Wales should now be the goal.
DAMIAN DE ALLENDE
When you’re such a quality player, any drop in that class with be noticeable. And that was the case with the inside centre in Johannesburg.
He missed a few crucial tackles and generally lacked that characteristic impact and presence, and while bumping him out to No 13 didn’t help much, there was just too much that was missing from his game.
The fact that he was replaced in the second quarter says it all. In an outing to forget, he struggled with his lineout throws, conceded an early scrum penalty and his lack of game time was painfully obvious.
PIETER-STEPH DU TOIT
It’s rare to have his name on such a list, but Du Toit was far from his best at the weekend.
From a seemingly general struggle to keep up with the game to his missed tackles, the loose forward – usually the template for “top performer” – showed little of what we’ve come to expect from him.