Cape Town – It was always going to be a hard task to win by 39 points, and while the Springboks had enough opportunities, they came up short in their Rugby Championship title bid, despite a 38-21 victory over Argentina in Durban on Saturday night.
The South Africans ended up with five tries in front of nearly 46 000 spectators, but lost out to the All Blacks, who claimed their ninth crown since the competition started in 2012.
Here is how we rated the Boks at Kings Park…
Willie le Roux: 4
Tried to get involved, but was a bit shaky overall, knocking the ball on at times. Was badly side-stepped by Argentina flank Juan Martin Gonzalez, who went on to score.
Canan Moodie: 6
The Bulls youngster again looked for action, but the ball seldom came his way. Kept his composure well at the end to get his pass away for Kurt-Lee Arendse to score.
Jesse Kriel: 5
Didn’t get many chances on attack as the ball didn’t go far beyond Frans Steyn and Damian de Allende. Missed an early tackle, but got stuck in defence in general. Did well to draw a defender to create space for Makazole Mapimpi in the build-up to Arendse’s try.
Damian de Allende: 6
Made a classy run early on as he stepped past a few tackles, but then spent most of the afternoon having to be a battering ram up the middle as the Boks chose to keep it tight.
Makazole Mapimpi: 6
Another game where Mapimpi’s talents were wasted. He is so much more than a high-ball chaser, but he hardly got the ball on attack. Got a good pass away to Moodie that led to Arendse’s touchdown.
Frans Steyn: 4
A night to forget for the veteran. Thrust into the flyhalf berth due to the unavailability of other players, Steyn was flat-footed on attack, missed touch from penalties and didn’t provide much finesse with ball-in-hand – although he bashed over a 50-metre penalty. But he didn’t pick himself…
Jaden Hendrikse: 5
After a number of excellent performances, Hendrikse wasn’t as fluent and sharp as he usually is. His box-kicks often didn’t go far or high enough, and he wasn’t decisive in his option-taking.
Jasper Wiese: 7
The official Man of the Match. The Bok No 8 never stopped running hard at the defence, and broke through tackles a few times. Worked hard in the mauls and cleaned-out the breakdowns, and topped things off with a try.
Pieter-Steph du Toit: 5
Another quiet day at the office for the 2019 Player of the Year. It’s a real pity that Du Toit is not playing for a SA franchise, as he could’ve done with some game-time in the URC.
Siya Kolisi (captain): 6
Tried to influence Australian referee Damon Murphy, who seemed hell-bent on penalising the Boks. Had a couple of solid carries, and worked hard on defence, while also grabbing a five-pointer.
Lood de Jager: 6
Commanded the lineouts and set a solid platform for those strong lineout drives, and put in an honest shift in general play.
Eben Etzebeth: 6
Combined well with De Jager in the tight-loose, and even chased and contested box-kicks. Was unlucky to be given a yellow card for a push late in the game.
Frans Malherbe: 8
Feasted on Argentina No 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro after they had an intense scrum battle in Buenos Aires, which earned the Boks a number of penalties.
Malcolm Marx: 6
Slugged it out with Argentinian captain and hooker Julian Montoya in the race for the loose ball and in the tight exchanges, and was accurate with his lineout-throwing to set up those mauls.
Steven Kitshoff: 7
Got the better of Argentina tighthead Eduardo Bello in the scrums, and played his part in the almost unstoppable driving maul all day long.
Best Off The Bench: Kwagga Smith: 6
Smith is always a bundle of energy, and tried to get the Boks going with a couple of turnovers and bursts at close range.