Rugby Championships 2017
Post Mortem Time
Now that was what Test Match rugby is supposed to be all about!
A great game of rugby, between two sides that were prepared to throw everything they had at each other. It was about skill, it was about strength, it was about power, it was about subtlety, it was about commitment, it was about passion, it was about tactics, it was about BMT, it was about pressure and precision. It was a superb game of rugby, probably the best Test Match in the last ten years, if not the best of the modern era.
Because it was entertaining, from the first minute to the last. Because it was a match that could have gone either way right up to the final whistle. It was a game of rugby that produced some superb skills, great moments, beautiful rugby, and monstrous hits. Yet it was game where the two teams respected each other. It was the way rugby should be played.
The Test was a celebration of rugby. Newlands, filled to the rafters, contributed to the atmosphere the way only Newlands can. Two teams with mayhem on their minds. One of the biggest TV audiences of the year. And a game that fizzed and popped, crackled and roared.
I just wish all Test Match rugby could be like that!
Test Match Review
There is no point in doing a ball-by-ball or play-by-play review of this game. It has already been dissected and examined over and over again by rugby brains vastly superior to mine. I will just point out some interesting vignettes that I picked up from this game.
Two players stood out in a game where everyone contributed to the spectacle. On the New Zealand side of the field Damian McKenzie was something special. Two years ago I wrote that he had a great future ahead of him, despite the thinnest legs I had ever seen on a rugby field. At just 19 years of age he was showing huge potential and was regularly starting for the Chiefs at either fullback or flyhalf. On Saturday, now aged 22, he showed the world that Ben Smith will not be missed in All Black ranks if he decides that his current sabbatical should become permanent retirement from the game.
Steve Hansen describes McKenzie as a fly in a bottle, he is everywhere, all the time, irritating everyone, sometimes finding the mouth of the bottle, sometimes bouncing off the walls. On Saturday he found the mouth of the bottle a couple of times, especially with that solo effort that turned the game in the All Blacks’ favour. He carried the ball 17 times, making 138 meters, 3 line breaks, 3 tackle breaks and scoring a wonderful try. When he touched the ball, Newlands held it’s collective breath to see what would happen.
I also like Paul Cully’s description of McKenzie being like James O’Connor, with less peroxide, fewer budgie smuggler photos, and much more ability.
It is a pleasure to watch him play rugby.
South Africa have Malcolm Marx. Just one year older than Damian McKenzie, Marx has been promising to explode on a rugby field for some time, and he did just that on Saturday. In his 11th Test, it was one of the finest individual performances by a rugby player we will ever be privileged to witness. He truly, and finally, took the baton from Bismarck du Plessis.
He was absolutely immense in every aspect of the game. He played with passion, focus, physicality, and intensity. Marx made an impact across the entire field, doing his job accurately and efficiently in the set pieces. He was an absolute menace at the breakdown, stealing an almost incredible four turnovers. In general play he was involved in everything, carrying the ball 13 times to make 92 meters with the ball in hand, breaking two tackles in the process too. He made 15 tackles, and scored a try.
It is a pleasure to watch him play rugby.
Eben Etzebeth is not a man you want to upset. He was obviously stung by the criticism launched at him after the draw against Australia, and he went out on Saturday with more than just beating the All Blacks in mind. He had a point to prove, as stand-in captain, as enforcer, but mostly as one of the world’s premier lock forwards.
In a game of massive physicality, he carried the ball 14 times and made 106 meters, leading the day with 5 tackle breaks. 10 All Blacks know they were tackled by Etzebeth as he missed just 1 tackle all day. He won all four lineouts called on him, and scrummed with enormous power. And then there was his support play; if a man was carrying the ball, his captain was at his shoulder. If a maul was set, Etzebeth was the pivot in the middle of it all.
And as a captain, he was cool, calm, and considered.
It is a pleasure to watch him play rugby.
Others stood out too. Rieko Ioane, Ryan Crotty, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Nehe Milner-Skudder until he had to leave the field, Handre Pollard, Aaron Smith, and Scott Barrett all provided extra-quality performances in a game full of quality.
It is a pleasure to watch them play rugby.
Hats off to the All Blacks. They showed that they are a great rugby team. Under massive pressure, where they were beaten in the physical exchanges and spent a lot of time defending with utter commitment, they showed their unique ability to turn the tiniest glimmer of opportunity into a try scoring success. They are worthy World Champions.
In the week before the Test they were accused of being a dirty team by Mark Reason, a rugby writer known for his bias against the New Zealanders. Yes, they play the game right to the edge, but that is not dirty, that is hard rugby. And they are very good at it.
It is a pleasure to watch them play rugby.
The Springbok forwards can take pride in an immense performance. It is not often that the All Blacks find themselves being second best in the physical exchanges. The contact moments belonged to the green and gold jerseys. The All Blacks like to deploy big runners to hit the ball up before taking it wide. On Saturday the big men, the likes of Whitelock, Squires, Barrett, Cane, Read, and Coles found themselves driven backward in the tackle time and again. They knew the Boks would come hard, but I got the sense that they had not expected the sheer physicality and intensity the Springboks brought to the game.
There was one area that the Springbok forwards did not quite dominate as they would like to. The scrums remained a problem area as Ruan Dreyer struggled to cope with the pressure at tighthead. He is a very strong young man, and plays well for his Super Rugby franchise, but his technique is lacking, and it was brutally exposed during the Rugby Championships. When the referee has to tell an international prop forward how to set a scrum, there is something very wrong. The arrival of Wilco Louw on the field on Saturday might just have provided the solution to this problem.
In my preview to this Test, I said that there were a number of things I would be looking for from this Springbok team.
I said that I would be looking to see whether they have learned from the disaster at Albany.
I think the answer to that one is obvious. Yes, they have!
I said that I would be looking to see whether they played the game with more tactical discipline. Would they make sure that their kicking is into spaces and into touch, not the wayward Air & Prayer kicking we saw before?
The answer to that one is “Yes” but it is not an unqualified “Yes” – There were still wayward kicks that did not find the target. Andries Coetzee’s missed touch to end the first half gave us an unprecedented extra 10 minutes of rugby before the ball finally went dead and ended proceedings. Too many kicks still found willing receivers or missed touch. Ross Cronje is not known for box-kicking, and it was fairly obvious that he was playing under instruction when he launched a flurry of such kicks late in the first half. His lack of consistent practice at the box kick showed. Many were inaccurate.
Elton Jantjies’ charged down kick gave the All Blacks a chance to score a try, and they do not miss those chances!
The kicking game was better, but still not good enough!
I asked whether the Boks would take the ball forward into contact more often, sucking in the All Black defenders before swinging it out wide, or would they persist with taking it wide at every opportunity? Would they “earn the right” to play out wide?
Once again, the answer is “Yes.” This time there is no qualification to that answer. The Springboks played a far more direct game of rugby, utilizing their big ball carriers to take the game up the midfield before going wide. Both forwards and backs were far more direct.
The midfield ran straighter, although there were moments of crabbing, it was markedly less than in previous weeks. Jan Serfontein did lapse into his tuck & charge preset a couple of times, but this was the exception rather than the rule.
I also asked whether we would see better timing of the pass and better linking? Better decision making, better finishing? Would those who have a penchant for running and dying with the ball start to pass it before they get tackled? Would we see the ball shifted away from contact rather than taken straight into contact? Would those chances that were lost against Australia a week before be converted into points with an improvement in timing and execution?
I think there was much improvement in Saturday’s display, but the Springboks are still way short of saying that they have learned to time their passes correctly and to take the opportunities presented. They had 56% of the possession and forced the All Blacks to make 240 tackles, yet they still failed to take opportunities when they were there for the taking. Ross Cronje could and should have passed the ball to Elton Jantjies, a scoring opportunity was wandering around on that field waiting for someone to grab it! Cronje did not pass the ball in time.
There were the soft moments, when the Springboks were threatening to score, and the pass went astray – disastrously so when the same Ross Cronje’s pass was picked off by Ioane who ran 80 meters to score.
The report card will read: “Improving, needs more work.”
In my preview I also asked whether the Springboks would fix their broken defensive system.
The answer is again a “Yes” although there were still infuriatingly soft moments. In the first half the defensive effort was colossal. The All Blacks threw everything they had into attacking the Bok line, and they were kept at bay right throughout the half. Yet it was a soft moment that gave Ryan Crotty a debatable try.
The second half was another immense defensive effort, although the Springboks spent more time attacking than defending in the second 40. Yet it was another soft moment that gave Damian McKenzie an open door and a superb try.
The other questions I asked were all answered.
Would the Springboks fix their lineout woes. Yes, they did.
Would Malcolm Marx fix his lineout yips. Yes, he did.
Would the Springbok scrum settle back into being a cohesive unit in the set piece. The answer is “No, not initially, then Yes, after Wilco Louw came on.”
In essence, the Springboks answered every question I raised, and mostly in a very positive manner. So the report card will read: “Much Improved, Well Done!”
But all is not yet wine and roses.
There are still some serious problems that need addressing.
The Springbok tactical kicking remains a big problem.
The half-back combination remains a weak link, especially in the big games.
Ross Cronje is a steady performer, minimising errors and providing a steady stream of balls to his backs, yet some of his passing remains of the “looping” variety, and he does not bring flair and game management to the field. He remains a solid, journeyman scrumhalf. The best we have got, but not of real star quality.
Elton Jantjies has dropped deeper and deeper into the pocket at set pieces, in an obvious attempt to find more space to move in and relieve the pressure he feels from onrushing defenders. This has the knock-on effect of pulling his backline deeper too, further away from the gain line and with more work to do to carry the ball up. One of the prime reasons for the crabbing in the wider channels as the backs get squeezed by defenders.
His line kicks might make 40 meters off the boot, but when he is so deep, the reality is that the kick only goes 20m over the gain line. Not much of a gain, then…….
When he is playing at his best, he takes the ball flat and over the gain line in a flash, but in Test rugby he falls short of his best, time and again. He has shown that he cannot handle the pressure when he plays flat, hence he hangs deep…
I have no answer at scrumhalf, Cronje is the best we have at the moment. At flyhalf we are blessed to have Pollard back, with the likes of Damian Willemse, Conrad Bosch and even du Plessis and du Preez providing some depth.
The Springbok back three are lightweight and lack true pace. None of the three have the power to drive through the tackle, or to use the hip to bump off tacklers. None of the three have a physical presence under the high ball. None of the three can knock an opponent back in the tackle.
The lack of pace is a real issue. Beauden Barrett’s kick through and into the in-goal area should have been an easy chase for someone with real pace. When Reiko Ioane intercepted, someone with real pace might have chased him down over the 80 meters he ran to score.
Dillyn Leyds has some super running skills, but they are the tricky stepping variety, not the sheer afterburner pace a wing sometimes needs. He is ever-willing, but both he and his wing on the other side Courtnall Skosan lack the muscle to stop some of the giant wings of world rugby today. Skosan has fair pace, but only if given space to build up a head of steam. Coetzee is not the fastest fullback around, nor an imposing tackler.
There are some contenders out there – Werner Kok has power, physicality, and pace. Seabelo Senatla has pure pace, but lacks a bit on defence, Warrick Gelant shows moments of class, and did I hear somebody whisper Willie le Roux’s name?
South Africa needs a real No 8 to back-up Warren Whiteley. Going into Test matches with re-treaded flankers in the 8 position is no answer. Duane Vermeulen is the obvious candidate, but is there anyone else?
From my own perspective, the Springboks get a pass mark for improving on every aspect of their game. The advances made since 2016 are almost galactic in terms of tactical nous, experience, commitment, focus, and passion.
In terms of leadership, the improvement has been immeasurable.
Before I end this discussion, some thoughts on the referee.
I thought Garces had a fairly good game, he managed the scrums well, he always does. He managed the lineouts well. He was good at the rucks and mauls, allowing the game to develop rather than blowing it to death as is the wont of some Southern Hemispherean referees. A ruck or maul is supposed to be a fight for the ball, and he allowed it.
He was a bit slack on policing the off-side line out wide, and he did allow some play beyond the ball at rucks. Some cleanouts by both sides were a little questionable, particularly one or two where no arms were used. He missed some forward passes. Importantly, neither side gained an advantage from his mistakes.
All minor stuff, a good show by a referee, except for two glaring mistakes.
Ryan Crotty’s try was more than questionable. He dropped the ball going forward before downward pressure by his chest/stomach area. The referee and the TMO acknowledged that he dropped the ball, but the TMO suggested that he dropped the ball straight down or backwards. Firstly, that is physically impossible to do if you are going forward! Secondly, it was a knock on, Period.
Mark Lawrence is the boss man of South African referees, and he said it was a knock on, clear and obvious.
And then there was the red card for de Allende.
Let me make it clear, it was a bit of very clumsy rugby by Damian de Allende. He should have worked harder to avoid the contact, and he did not. It was silly, and fully deserved a penalty.
But it was not worth a red card, or perhaps even a yellow.
In fact, the referee and his assistants missed it completely, it was called by the TMO. He was asked to review it while the game continued, and made no call on the incident. An injury break to attend to Eben Etzebeth gave the TMO a second chance to view it and he suggested a penalty.
Garces then asked to see it on the big screen. He then asked for a second look. He then took a decision without the TMO having any opportunity to say what he saw.
"What I saw on the big screen...it's late. I just want to know if the elbow or arm touched the neck or the head?"
A clear side angle showed de Allende's left forearm hit Sopoaga across the top of his chest before moving up towards his chin.
"For me it's clear. The elbow is late. Deliberate. The elbow touched the head. It's a red card," Garces told Kitt, without any input from the TMO.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that it was not deliberate. That was a wrong call by Garces.
Red cards used to be reserved for malicious behaviour such as a punch, a bite or a kick to the head. But late last year World Rugby changed the laws around high tackles - a zero-tolerance approach to reckless and accidental head contact.
Under the new law, if a player makes a tackle where they knew there would be risk to an opponent's head, the minimum punishment will be a yellow card. That includes a tackle that starts below the shoulders.
There was no malice in the tackle, no damage done, and no injury. Sopoaga was not out of the game for any time whatsoever. The contact was soft and below the shoulders to start with.
It was not a red card offence. Period.
And SANZAAR’s Foul Play Review Committee agreed, no further action will be taken against de Allende.
The decision probably didn't cost the Springboks the test. It should have been a penalty and the All Blacks took an eight-point lead with three minutes remaining.
And that, folks, brings this year’s Rugby Championships to a conclusion.
I did not conduct a review of the Wallaby/Puma game as I have not had the chance to watch it yet.
Match Information & Statistics:
New Zealand won the game 25 – 24, both sides scoring 3 tries. South Africa converted all three their tries, while New Zealand converted two. New Zealand converted two of three penalty goals aimed at the posts, while South Africa converted one and missed one.
Possession went to South Africa 56% to 44%, while the territorial stakes went to New Zealand 55% to 45%, New Zealand building their dominance in the first half when they played a lot of rugby in South Africa’s half of the field.
The ball was in play for an incredible 44 minutes, 12 minutes more than is average for Test matches in the modern era.
South Africa carried the ball 177 times making 1060 meters in the process, New Zealand carried the ball 138 times, making 1061 meters in the process. New Zealand’s carry meters were significantly enhanced by individual efforts such as Ioane’s intercept try (80 meters) and McKenzie’s solo effort of some 60 meters.
South Africa made 4 Line breaks, New Zealand made 9. Significantly, South Africa made no less than 19 tackle breaks, a reflection of the power running of the ball carriers. New Zealand made just 9 tackle breaks.
South Africa made 205 passes, of which 187 were good passes, a pass accuracy rate of 91,2%. New Zealand made 221 passes, of which 193 were accurate, for a success rate of 87,33%
Both sides made 12 offloads.
South Africa took the ball into the ruck 145 times and won 136 of those rucks, a success rate of 93%. New Zealand took the ball into the ruck 95 times and won 89 of those rucks, a similar success rate of 93%.
Significantly, New Zealand conceded no less than 21 turnovers to South Africa’s 9.
South Africa won 4 mauls, New Zealand 2.
The Springboks made 161 tackles and missed 33, a success rate of 84%, the All Blacks made 240 tackles and missed 39, a success rate of 87%. Dominant tackles went to the All Blacks 15 to 10, resulting in New Zealand winning 5 tackle turnovers to South Africa’s 2.
South Africa kicked the ball 22 times, New Zealand 17 times. Averaging 33 meters per kick, the Springboks gained 720 meters from these kicks. New Zealand averaged 27 meters per kick and gained 463 meters by kicking.
The pressure the Springboks brought to bear on the New Zealanders resulted in a huge 41 handling errors, whilst the Springboks made just 17 errors.
Both sides conceded just 5 penalties each. 3 by South Africa in the scrums, to the solitary one by New Zealand.
First phase stats:
South Africa won 9 lineouts and had one stolen, New Zealand won 5 and lost none.
The Springboks hooked 7 scrums and conceded 2, both to penalties after the ball had been hooked. New Zealand only had the put-in in 1 scrum, and hooked that ball.
15 Andries Coetzee
A steady game, handling the All Black tactical kicks well. Carried the ball a couple of times, and ran good supporting lines when he joined the backline. One poor high kick, and one missed touch-finder that resulted in 10 minutes of extra rugby before halftime eventually arrived. Nothing much to report on. 6/10
14 Dillyn Leyds
Worked hard to keep Ioane under control, but was not always in the right place at the right time. Got his positional play wrong from time to time. Good under the high ball, two good catches under pressure. One knock-on that should not have happened. 6/10
13 Jesse Kriel
A great defensive effort, with a very good tackle on Ioane to prevent an almost certain try. Ran a couple of good lines, but still crabbed across far too much. Not much else. 6/10
12 Jan Serfontein
Still tended to try and run over his opponent rather than looking for the gap to take the ball through the tackle and offload. Good skill at times, and good over the ball. Helped straighten the backline attack. Completely shut down Sonny Bill Williams. 7/10
11 Courtnall Skosan
100% for effort, but that is not enough at this level. Made some good terrier-like tackles, especially the one that stopped Milner-Skudder in his tracks (though it also ended Milner-Skudder’s game for the day.) Had one good run with the ball in hand, but didn’t get the space he likes to run in. 5/10
10 Elton Jantjies
I am afraid that Jantjies is just not a truly influential international flyhalf. So much go-forward ball, so little done with it. Could not take control of the game, which he should have done easily. The kick that was charged down led to an expensive try. Seemed to be lost and out of his depth on a number of occasions, hesitating with the ball in hand. Got better as the game went on, but was the weak link in the Bok backline. Lots of guts, but simply not good enough. 4/10
9 Ross Cronje
Received a bit of a roasting from the crowd for his box-kicking, but was obviously playing to a preconceived plan. A solid performance, nothing special. One great break, but held the ball when a pass might have ended in a try. Some of his passes a bit loopy. Scored a good try, but that intercepted pass gave Ioane the ball when it the Boks were turning up the pressure. The try released the pressure on the ABs, and took some of the wind out of the Boks for a while. 5/10
8 Francois Louw
Out of position, but steady enough. Had the experience and nous to control the ball at the back of the scrum. Made some massive hits and carried the ball well. 7/10
7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
A massive game by the lock playing flank. He was clumsy at times, but immense with the ball in hand and on defence. Huge hits and powerful carrying. But not really a flanker… 7/10
6 Siya Kolisi
A quite game for the man who has been the best of the Bok loosies in 2017. Very good cleaning out at the rucks, one superb offload out the back of the hand. Not really a presence at the breakdowns.6/10
5 Lodewyk de Jager
Better. Not quite the Lood of 2015, but his best game in a long long while. Carried the ball well, tackled like a man possessed. A great offload. Very good day in the lineouts. Too many dummy-and-then-charge moments. 7/10
4 Eben Etzebeth
When he is in this kind of mood you really do not want to be the guy who has to tackle him! Very close to a Man-of-the-Match performance. Bulldozer like carries clattering into black jerseys with awesome power and sending some flying (Scott Barrett!). Mountainous defence. Excellent in the lineouts. Scrummed with power. Lead the team from the front. 9/10
3 Ruan Dreyer
Nope, still the weak link in the Bok forward effort. Still scrumming wrong. Kane Hames is not great scrummager, yet he was smiling at Dreyer. One or two good carries, nothing else to report on. 4/10
2 Malcolm Marx
Monstrous, brutal, massive, huge, unbelievable…. Choose any of those adjectives, and it is not enough to describe the youngster’s game. This rates as one of the best individual performances on a rugby field, by any player, in any Test, anywhere. Driving, carrying, tackling, supporting, throwing, running, scoring, setting up a try, and winning turnovers. Simply Immense. 10/10
1 Steven Kitshoff
The big Ginge did not disappoint! Prominent in every aspect of the game, and not just because of his hair colour. Carried the ball hard and with purpose. Tackled like a bulldozer. Great breakdown penalty earned too. And the commitment to try and chase down a wing….. 9/10
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle
17 Trevor Nyakane (on for Kitshoff, 77th min)
A pointless run-on in last 3 minutes. Not long enough for a rating.
18 Wilco Louw (on for Dreyer, 50th min)
Immediate, powerful stability in the scrum. Carried the ball well on two occasions, made a couple of good tackles. A good day for the youngster who had not even been called into the squad at the beginning of the week! 6/10
19 Franco Mostert (on for De Jager, 54th min)
Carried the ball well, made his tackles, and did his job. Not quite up to the standards he has set all year, but did nothing wrong. An asset to his team. 6/10
20 Jean-Luc du Preez (on for Kolisi, 54th min)
Immediate impact. Solid defence, good carrying, good presence all over the field. Good try. 7/10
21 Rudy Paige
22 Handré Pollard (on for Jantjies, 54th min)
Immediately showed why the All Blacks rate him so highly. Took the ball forward with purpose, gave direction to his backs, good skills, set up du Preez’s try. For someone as ring rusty as he must be he showed what he is capable of doing. Welcome back. 7/10
23 Damian de Allende (on for Serfontein, 61st min)
Did some good things, and then lost the game with his late contact with Sopoaga. Whether it was red, yellow or just a penalty is irrelevant, the penalty gave the All Blacks the win. Because of that moment: 0/10
15 Damian McKenzie
Now you see him, now you don’t… He was everywhere, all the time. Made some mistakes, but that is the way he plays, made up for it with stunning moments of sheer brilliance. Scored the winning try.9/10
14 Nehe Milner-Skudder
Boy, he was a handful! When he got the ball in his hands, there was trouble looming. His stepping was marvelous. Gave Skosan plenty to think about. Sad to see him injured again. 7/10
13 Ryan Crotty
Probably the best 13 in the world today. Some great carrying, great passing, and very solid defending. A crucial try. 7/10
12 Sonny Bill Williams
Completely shut down by Serfontein and the rest of the Bok defenders, he was not as influential as he can be. Lost the ball in the turnover twice. Tackled well. 5/10
11 Rieko Ioane
An intercept try that was probably the defining moment of the game. Fair on defence, but did butcher a try scoring opportunity too. 6/10
10 Beauden Barrett
Just thirty minutes during which he charged down a kick and gave the All Blacks the try. Was not quite as influential this time around as the Bok’s gave him less space than before. 6/10
9 Aaron Smith
A great game by the world’s best 9. Good decision making and an eye for the half chance to set up counter attack after counter attack. 7/10
8 Kieran Read
Not often that his leadership is overshadowed by his opposite number, but Etzebeth owned the captaincy on the day. Great in the lineouts, tackled hard, no opportunity to run out wide as he likes to do. Sucked into the hard stuff by the Bok effort. 6/10
7 Sam Cane
Almost invisible as he got lost in the fury that was the Bok forward effort. Worked like a Trojan to stem the rushes and defended well. Taken off early (46th minute) to try and add some pace to the AB loosies with Todd’s introduction. 5/10
6 Liam Squire
Dangerous with the ball in hand, and covered a lot of ground. Was sucked into the tighter stuff by the Bok close game and did not have a chance to do the damage he is so capable of doing. 6/10
5 Scott Barrett
Growing into his role as an AB lock. Covered a lot of ground, made some immense tackles, carried the ball well. Guilty of being over-eager a couple of times. Good in lineouts. 7/10
4 Sam Whitelock
Not as influential as he can be. Kept busy in the hard stuff by the Boks forward game, and did his job as well as he always does it. One good turnover. Some great tackles. 7/10
3 Nepo Laulala
Took some strain from Kitshoff, but who wouldn’t. Hard graft in the tight-loose, good support, good cleanouts at the ruck, some good carrying too. 6/10
2 Dane Coles
Played in the shadow of Marx, but still produced his usual solid game. Not as many carries as he was caught in the effort to hold the Bok pack. Did not get the opportunities to range out wide that he relishes. Did his job well. 6/10
1 Kane Hames
Given too much latitude at the scrum by Dreyer’s ineffectual efforts, otherwise fairly quiet. A couple of good cleanouts, one good carry, some good tackles. 6/10
16 Codie Taylor (on for Coles, 45th min)
On early, but did not bring anything extra to the game. Helped contain the Bok forwards somewhat. 6/10
17 Wyatt Crockett (on for Hames, 45th min)
Deployed early, but had no great impact on the game. Toyed with Dreyer in the scrums but that was about all we saw of him. 5/10
18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi (on for Laulala, 45th min)
Also deployed early, but made no impact on Kitshoff whatsoever. Did his job. 5/10
19 Patrick Tuipulotu (on for S.Barrett, 65th min)
Worked hard from the moment he arrived. Solid carries, good tackles. Won a good lineout steal. 7/10
20 Matt Todd (on for Cane, 46th min)
Made no real impact, invisible at times. Some good cleaning out, some good defending. 6/10
21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (on for Smith, 59th min)
Possibly his last Test, did what he had to do and did it well. Not quite the polish and flair of Smith. Good enough on the day. 7/10
22 Lima Sopoaga (on for B Barrett, 32nd min)
He is no Beauden Barrett. Far more conservative in his game management, kept it low risk and solid. Great conversion to ensure the win. 7/10
23 David Havili (on for Milner-Skudder, 40th min)
As good as it gets, what a great sub to have on the bench. He has had a sterling year and crowned it with a polished, safe as a house performance after he was introduced. Good skills. 7/10
See y’all in November!