South Africa vs Wallabies: How the players rated

The Rugby Championship
by Emma Greenwood

The Wallabies failed to break their Ellis Park drought in a 35-17 loss to South Africa in a match in which they will rue missed opportunities.

Despite a competitive opening half, they bombed two tries and a momentum-shifting yellow card in the second term sealed the result for the Boks. Here’s how the Wallabies rated.

1. James Slipper - 6

Solid in his first Test since 2016 but his night ended early when he was forced off the field for an HIA in the 49th minute after copping an accidental knee in the head in a tackle.

2. Folau Fainga'a - 6

Solid game overall, won his scrums and lineouts but could not replicate the dominance he showed in Super Rugby with the Wallabies on the back foot.

3. Sekope Kepu - 5

Came off early in the second half after battling in the front row and returned briefly with Taniela Tupou in the sin bin. Battled to gain any real dominance.

Izack Rossa was busy in his time on the field against the Springboks. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

4. Izack Rodda - 5.5

Solid effort overall, although caught rushing up in defence in the lead up to the Springboks' opening try.

5. Rory Arnold – 7

Among the Wallabies best forwards – great workrate, solid at the set piece and reliable in defence.

6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto - 7

Unlucky not to score in the first half, with last pass from Kerevi ruled forward. Tremendous workrate in both attack and defence and backed up well.

Michael Hooper is caught in a desperate tackle in the Wallabies' loss to South Africa. Photo: Getty Images

7. Michael Hooper - 7

Usual workaholic performance around the ground, topping the tackle count for the Wallabies. Crucial decision to go for a scrum rather than points from a penalty late in the first half backfired and halted momentum.

8. Isi Naisarani - 6

Strong showing on debut. Brought the strong running the Wallabies had needed from their no.8 in the first half but faded a little in the second term with Australia on the back foot.

9. Nic White - 7

Strong performance in his Wallabies return which strengthened his World Cup case. Kicked well, threatened with his running game and was generally busy. Did  nothing wrong.

Bernard Foley on his way to the tryline after backing up Kurtley Beale on the fly. Photo: Getty Images

10. Bernard Foley - 7

Solid overall. Backed up Kurtley Beale well to score a second-half try and showed good vision to help create opportunities including the first-half try.

11. Reece Hodge - 5

Had few opportunities on the wing playing out of position and was unable to make a real impact, with his only real chance going begging with a poor pass from his outside.

12. Samu Kerevi - 7.5

Picked up where he left off in Super Rugby as a dominant attacking presence, although will be disappointed with the forward pass that had a try disallowed. Arguably best on ground for the Wallabies and a key focus of the attack.

13. Tevita Kuridrani - 6

Solid if unspectacular in his time on the field. Few chances in open space to combine with Kerevi but pushed well in traffic.

Dane Haylett-Petty fumbles the ball across the line after having the chance to score a second try for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

14. Dane Haylett-Petty - 6

Scored the Wallabies' first try but bombed a second when he fumbled the ball on the tryline. Another fumble and poor pass to Hodge when in space was disappointing. 

15. Tom Banks - 6

Solid effort on debut. Strong boot, solid under the high ball, didn't have a massive impact but did little wrong.

Reserves: 

16. Jordan Uelese - n/a

Lasted just two minutes before having to leave the field for an HIA after getting his head in an awkward position in a tackle. Awful result after he fought back from an ACL injury to return to the Test arena.

Harry johnson-Holmes was thrown into the deep end on debut after Jame Slipper was forced off with a head knock. Photo: Getty Images

17. Harry Johnson-Holmes - 5

Baptism of fire after coming on early in the second half when Slipper forced off the field for an HIA. Conceded an early penalty in the scrum but generally held his own in the front row.

18. Taniela Tupou - 3

Questionable yellow card had a real impact on the match and on Tupou's impact on the game. Held his own in a battling scrum when he was on the field.

19. Rob Simmons - 5

Solid effort in the second half after coming on for Rodda. Reliable as ever at the set piece.

20. Jack Dempsey - 4

Solid in limited minutes off the bench late in the match.

21. Will Genia - 5

Few opportunities after coming on late in the game for Nic White but organised well and his vision led to Beale's break ahead of the Foley try. Will get more time as The Rugby Championship goes on but with his World Cup spot already sealed, White's start was instructive for coach Michael Cheika.

22. Matt To'omua - 5

Few opportunities when he came on in the second half for Kuridrani. Likely to have more chance to show his wares next week.

Kurtley Beale was outstanding off the bench for the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

23. Kurtley Beale - 6.5

Hard to have a real impact in limited time but he managed. Outstanding off the bench and his performance shows why he needs to be a starter next week. Dangerous every time he touched the ball and his pass for Foley’s try was sublime.