Springbok Player Ratings: Full marks for Eben Etzebeth, Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse shine against France

Eben Etzebeth was immense for the Springboks in their World Cup win over hosts France. Photo: Ashley Western/Colorsport/Shutterstock via BackpagePix

Eben Etzebeth was immense for the Springboks in their World Cup win over hosts France. Photo: Ashley Western/Colorsport/Shutterstock via BackpagePix

Published Oct 16, 2023


It was a pulsating Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Paris on Sunday as the Springboks sealed a tense 29-28 victory over France in a sold-out Stade de France.

IOL Sport's Leighton Koopman rates the Boks' individual performances after they sealed a famous semi-final berth against the hosts.

15. Damian Willemse (8): The general at the back for the Boks. He was solid when France kicked on him and had some brilliant attacking runs. He was taken off way too soon by the coaches.

14. Kurt-Lee Arendse (9): There's no substitute for pace and he showed it when he out-sprinted the French defence for his try. Worked hard off the ball too, especially chasing kicks.

13. Jesse Kriel (9): Arguably his best game for the Boks in his career. That grubber kick to send Cheslin Kolbe away rivals that of the best soccer players around the world. Solid defending too at crucial times.

12. Damian de Allende (9): Always over the gain line with the ball in hand. Some brilliant carries, especially the one on his way to his try. Tackled ferociously as well and hit the big boys back.

11. Cheslin Kolbe (10): That charged down conversion attempt was the difference. So solid for the Springboks on the attack. Great follow up of the Kriel grubber to score a vital try too.

10. Manie Libbok (8.5): General Manie got the Bok attack going and he put the defense under pressure with his runs. He threw some sweet passes and brilliant kicks for space and territory off both his feet.

9. Cobus Reinach (6.5): He was sometimes too slow behind the ruck, but still serviced the backline sufficiently. Should've put more pressure on Antoine Dupont too. Made good tackles though.

8. Duane Vermeulen (8): Worked tirelessly to stop the French when they looked threatening. Tackled solidly and made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown. Came back on and helped seal the game

7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (9): The fire in the Bok engine, it's a pity most of his colleagues in the tight five couldn't follow his example. Tackled strongly and chased and collected kicks as well. Made crucial plays

6. Siya Kolisi (6.5): Led from the front at the start and helped keep the composure. Climbed in at the rucks and tackled strongly. He was probably subbed off too early in this tight game.

5. Franco Mostert (6.5): Missed a tackle early in the game, but made up for it with some hard-hitting ones as the game went on. Solid in the lineout and carried the ball strongly.

4. Eben Etzebeth (10): Not even that shoddy yellow card could put a stain on his sublime performance. Imposing with the ball in hand, physical and very accurate in everything he did. A monster performance by the Bok lock.

3. Frans Malherbe (6): Couldn't find rhythm in the scrums and struggled to gain advantage. Quiet with his carries too. Penalised at a time for scumming on the angle.

2. Bongi Mbonambi (7): There's a captain in Bongi Mbonambi. He lifted his game after a quiet first half and absolutely drove the Boks. Made crucial tackles putting his body on the line.

1. Steven Kitshoff (5.5): Made some good carries but struggled to gain advantage in the scrums, struggled to make an impact at the breakdown as well and conceded a couple of penalties.


16. Deon Fourie (7): Influential play at the breakdown looking for turnover ball and defended with heart.

17. Ox Nche (8): Improved the Bok scrum and won vital penalties for his side. Made a solid hit late on.

18. Vincent Koch (7): Helped to reignite the Bok scrum and put France under massive pressure for penalties.

19. RG Snyman (7): Made a vital tackle when France broke off the back of the breakdown. Worked hard on defense and attack.

20. Kwagga Smith (9): A beast off the bench. Never-say-die and some crucial plays and turnovers from him.

21. Faf de Klerk(3): Critical errors when he came on. Broke the Boks' momentum.

22. Handre Pollard (6.5): Missed tackles but kicked the crucial penalty to put the Springboks ahead.

23. Willie le Roux (4): He's so experienced but that silly knock-on was almost very costly.