Wallabies vs Springboks: How the players rated

The Rugby Championship
by Iain Payten

It was another loss for the Wallabies in Port Elizabeth and yet again some of the big names kept Australia in the fight. How did the players rate? 

15. Dane Haylett-Petty 7

A wayward pass or two but DHP was yet again one of the more reliable performers in gold when the ball came his way, good leg drive after contact. Helped set-up Genia’s try with an all-too rare offload.

14. Israel Folau 5

Perhaps a victim of the Wallabies’ dogged tactics to chase wide space all night, but stationed on the right flank Folau didn’t see nearly enough ball, time or space.

The Aussies went for him in the air but rivals are now awake to that tactic. His aerial skill  can still be part of tactics to beat rush defence, but perhaps with short kicks.

13. Reece Hodge 6

Little to complain about with another rock-solid Hodge performance. Scored a try and had a look at another but didn’t have the gas.

Too-strong support pass to Folau with a try begging on an early break was a blemish.

12. Matt Toomua 6

You get the sense Toomua needs to be either given more responsibility to run the Wallaby attack, or he needs to go take it.

The Wallabies attack was way too lateral in Port Elizabeth and Toomua’s direct strengths, and game smarts, should be more prominent. 

11. Marika Koroibete 7

Played superbly until he went off with a head-knock. Smashing tackle chasing a kickoff, saved a try with cover tackle on Siya Kolisi and then gassed Cheslin Kolbe to set up Genia’s try.

This is the real Koroibete, so it was a great shame he got hurt.

10. Kurtley Beale 5

So ends the Kurtley at no.10 phase. The opening try for South Africa summed up why: Beale has an attacking instinct, and seeks to deploy it at all opportunity.

Even under great risk. That’s an X-factor you’ll take in most backline spots but fly-half needs to be a calm head, who actually relishes responsibility.

Beale doesn’t seem to enjoy no.10. It is time to re-think his role. Few people remember Beale’s excellence in the World Cup was as a super-sub.

9. Will Genia 7

There are a handful of players in the Wallabies who routinely keep them in the fight, and Genia is one of them.

He scored one and set up the other Aussie try. But Genia needs to run more to attract forward defenders and compress lines that are happy to spread wide against the Wallabies and hit one-out runners.

8. David Pocock 8

Immense. Things aren’t good for the Wallabies this year but imagine how scoreboards could have looked without Pocock on the field.

The big no.8 made his standard handful of turnovers but just as importantly, got through a mountain of defence and carrying, too. 

7. Michael Hooper 7 

One of his better Test matches this year, with a lot of ball carrying into the teeth of traffic and occasionally on the outside of it, too.

Some angry defence as well. But question marks about his decision making when the Wallabies were putting the Boks under pressure: with kickable penalties turned down and going to the awful line out following the Boks losing a winger to the bin when another scrum would have exposed the gap.

6. Ned Hanigan 5

Michael Cheika likes Hanigan’s work rate, and fair enough, but his lack of comparative bulk becomes clear against the Springboks. 

But Hanigan’s carries rarely dented the line and breakdown work was hit and miss. Did well, in company, in rolling maul defence.

5. Adam Coleman 6

Went in with some hard shoulders, as per, and took some strong carries into the middle of the Boks’ alley of hitmen.

But as the line out leader Coleman carries responsibility for the fact that set-piece is now utterly broken, and unreliable for any launch plays. Opponents are all over the pre-call tactics.

4. Izack Rodda 5

Tried to add some grunt and energy but Rodda doesn’t seem to carry the 80-minute menace and physicality of an Eben Etzebeth or Peter Steph Du Toit.

You’d love to see him take on that role. Silly offload in own half hurt too.

3. Taniela Tupou 5

Held up his side of the scrum fine but that was about it. No effective carries and precious little impact in defence, either.

It was good to see Tupou get a start but the reasoning behind why was used off the bench was apparent too.

2. Folau Faingaa 6

Thrust into the starting role and there are few under more pressure than a young no.2 in South Africa.

It’s easy to forget this time last year Faingaa hadn’t even played Super Rugby yet. So he has enormous promise, and scrummed well. But lineout wasn’t great and he fell off a critical tackle for the Boks’ second try.

1. Scott Sio 5

Helped established a good platform at scrum time and got through his work. But Sio’s card marked down by racing out the line and allowing Handre Pollard the gap to race through and set up Faf de Klerk’s try.


16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa 5

A few bustling runs after coming in the last quarter and helped continue a strong scum platform.

17. Sekope Kepu 5

Not asked to do an enormous amount but helped sustain scrum strength. Will have a big role next week.

18. Allan Alaalatoa 6

Wouldn’t have been dropped if it wasn’t Tongan Thor pushing up behind him, and Alaalatoa’s decent cameo - in the scrum and with the ball - showed why he is a fair chance to take back the no.3.

19. Rob Simmons n/a

Not much game time so little influence on match.

20. Rory Arnold n/a

Little time as well but drop ball costly when game could still have been rescued.

21. Nick Phipps n/a

Tried to lift pace. It’ll be interesting to see if Jake Gordon is given a crack in Salta, given the need for the Wallaby nines to attract more attention at the ruck.

22. Bernard Foley 6

Again seemed to help settle the Wallabies attack when he entered the game. Expect to see him back in the no.10 next week.

23. Jack Maddocks 5

Brought on for Koroibete and didn’t have much to do in attack or defence.