Springbok player ratings v Wales: Fassi, Nche in command, and what a kick by Sacha

Springbok fullback Aphelele Fassi enjoyed a strong return to Test rugby against Wales in London yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Springbok fullback Aphelele Fassi enjoyed a strong return to Test rugby against Wales in London yesterday. Photo: Reuters

Published Jun 22, 2024


The Springboks got five tries in a comfortable 41-13 win over Wales at Twickenham on Saturday.

Here’s how we rated the world champions...

Aphelele Fassi: 8

Confident-boosting first catch and counter-attack. Good hands for the opening try, and was commanding in the air with the high ball.

Was very unlucky to be yellow-carded in the 30th minute for placing his boot in the neck of Welsh flank Taine Plumtree while catching an up-and-under.

Kept running good angles on attack in the second half in what was a strong return to Test rugby.

Edwill van der Merwe: 7

Did well with his first real touch in Test rugby in the 21st minute by retrieving a Welsh chip in the Bok 22. Followed it up with two crucial tackles after a Wales intercept.

Finally got some ball in space and beat his man in a one-on-one, but not many opportunities after that until a brilliant late step and burst through the middle for his first Bok try. Was the official Player of the Match.

— SuperSport Rugby (@SSRugby) June 22, 2024

Jesse Kriel: 7

Put Mapimpi away and followed up to round off. Was busy in defence, and provided a terrific offload to put Mapimpi away – although the pass looked forward. Ranged up in support of his teammates often on attack.

André Esterhuizen: 6

A couple of bulldozing early surges into the Welsh defence early on. Wasn’t utilised enough as a ball-carrier or decoy for the outside backs.

Makazole Mapimpi: 7

Lovely run down the left and pass inside to put Kriel away. Tried to get involved on the opposite wing, looking for work. Strong finish for third Bok try.

Jordan Hendrikse: 4

Missed a relatively easy first kick at goal. Slotted an angled conversion, but booted a kick-off straight into touch after Wales scored. Was unsure of himself on attack, throwing the ball away a few times and not linking with his outside backs. Slotted a lengthy penalty in the second half.

Faf de Klerk: 3

Was a bit slow at first, battled to get the ball away, kicks not on point. Stop-start service, didn’t engage the Welsh defence with ball-in-hand.

— SuperSport Rugby (@SSRugby) June 22, 2024

Evan Roos: 7

Some powerful charges early on. Massive run down the middle, brought down just short of the tryline by the Wales scrumhalf. Knocked-on from a kick-off after the second Bok try.

Pieter-Steph du Toit (captain): 6

Lost his first lineout catch. Made some carries and tackles at close quarters as he got the rust out of his system. Will get more involved against Ireland.

Kwagga Smith: 6

Was involved in the first try with good hands to Kriel. Nearly scored the second through a dominant driving maul, but was just short and a penalty try was awarded. Got involved with ball-in-hand a few times.

Franco Mostert: 6

Was solid in the lineouts and busy in the tight-loose. Should have been more commanding in claiming a loose ball from a lineout that led to Wales’ opening try.

Eben Etzebeth: 6

Stole a Welsh lineout, but the ball wasn’t claimed by his teammates, and Welsh hooker Dewi Lake scored. Hit rucks and tried to put defensive pressure on the opposition forwards.

Vincent Koch: 7

Huge early scrum, and kept up his dominance over Welsh loosehead Gareth Thomas. Can be satisfied with his effort in his 50th Test.

Malcolm Marx: 6

Missed his first lineout, with Du Toit unable to hold on in the air. Was accurate for most of the other throw-ins, and part of a powerful scrummaging effort. Decent outing for his first game since the World Cup.

Ox Nche: 8

Drilled Welsh tighthead Keiron Assiratti – who left the field before halftime – all afternoon long in the scrums. Didn’t get much chance to run with the ball.

Best off the Bench – Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu: 8

Had to wait over an hour to make his Springbok debut, but made his presence felt in grand style with an unbelievable penalty strike from over 50 metres that brought a broad smile to Rassie Erasmus’ face. A couple of strong carriers at close quarters.


Springboks 41 – Tries: Jesse Kriel, Penalty Try, Makazole Mapimpi, Bongi Mbonambi, Edwill van der Merwe. Conversions: Jordan Hendrikse (2), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (2). Penalties: Hendrikse (1), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (1).

Wales 13 – Tries: Dewi Lake. Conversion: Sam Costelow (1). Penalties: Costelow (2).

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