Rugby

Player Ratings: Wallabies v Boks (Bloemfontein)

Player Ratings: Wallabies v Boks (Bloemfontein)

Phew! How do you score the performances in a game like that!! At half time I was throwing around 8s and 9s all over the place. A couple of minutes to go until full time and the 5s and 6s were coming out. So I gave myself some time, took a breath, and started again.

But what a game! I know it’s been covered elsewhere, but wowza. Full credit to the Wallabies for fighting back and securing the last gasp win. When was the last time we had one of those?

One quick observation to make, what an impact from the bench! Hopefully this encourages Deans to keep using them because almost to a man (except for one notable exception) they all added something significantly when they came on. And so… to the ratings!

15 Kurtley Beale: Thought he had a really good first half, and then ruined it with some absolute shockers in the 2nd, including the falcon and that shocking pass from scrumhalf. But this kid picks himself off the floor and comes back better. The cover tackle following his alcon showed this, But the MATCH WINNING KICK FROM 50M OUT showed it even more. That’s what you want. Guys who WANT to stand up and make the bigs plays – 8.

14 James O’Connor: A very dangerous game. Looking Cory Jane-like now on the wing, which I think is what Deans was after. A real weapon for the Wallabies. Quieter in the 2nd, but didn’t get the opportunities – 7.

13 Adam Ashley- Cooper: I thought he was outstanding. Back to his best after a disapointing last run. He really lead the Wallaby defense, at least out wide, and whilst he took the risk in running out of the line, he timed it beautifully most of the time. Nice aggressive straight running too which is what this backline needs – 8.

12 Matt Giteau: Some people may not agree, but I thought this was his best game of the season. Underplayed his hand a little, which I think must be done sometimes when you have Cooper, Beale and JOC around you. I thought he really played maturely in the 2nd half, when some of those younger players were starting to lose direction – 7.

11 Drew Mitchell: Much like JOC, looked very dangerous in the first half and really attacked the line. A poor dropped ball early in that 2nd stanza was a big set back for the Wallabies, but ended with running a fine line inside Berrick for the last try of the game – 7.

10 Quade Cooper: QC is one who’s rating suffered due to the 2nd half. I had him down as a 9 after the first 40. He was totally in control and even pulled off a rip snorter of a hit, on De Villiers was it?  However, when it went a little pear shaped in the 2nd, so did Quade and test teams rely on their flyhalf to maintain control. So the poor kick offs, the pushed passes, the weak tackles. Not good – 6.

9 Will Genia: I thought he was terrific and played his hand perfectly. Ran to great effect, kicked to great effect, but most importantly, passed to great effect. Beautiful long and accurate passes. Back one step closer to his very best – 7.

8 Ben McCalman:Got through a pile of work, as Richard Brown used to do. What I liked about him this game, is that he showed that level of intensity and aggression that Brown seems to lack. Everything was done with great intent. A very good run on debut – 7.

7 David Pocock: How close was this to the perfect game? Maybe a penalty or two away from it. Am I over the top here? I thought he was far and away the best player on the field, for the whole game. Came up with so many big plays and again demonstrated his leadership qualities within the team – 9 and G&GR Man of the Match.

6 Rocky Elsom: Another who produced their best game of the season. Ran a little wide enabled, perhaps, by of the good work down by McCalman in tight. Ran nice angles, which is a real strength, but was busy in defense too. Lapsed a little in the 2nd, but a promising return to form – 7.

5 Nathan Sharpe: Another productive game for the veteran but I still can’t get over the debacle that was the Vic Matfield break in the lead up to Jaque Fourie’s try. Sharpe and Chisholm were just caught out and it was a real turning point – 6.

4 Mark Chisholm: Perhaps I missed a lot of his grunt work? Perhaps I was just too caught up in the moment to see all the valuable ‘invisible’ work he did? Regardless, I didn’t see it. I thought he was sadly anonymous – 5.

3 Salesi Ma’afu: Was only on for 20 odd minutes. Was busy but ineffectual – 3.

2 Stephen Moore: A look back on Moore’s test form over the last couple years provokes the question why he wasn’t in the starting side more often this year, now back from injury. An unheralded leader in the team, he provides great impact and composure to the pack. A very good game – 7.

1 Benn Robinson: Another very busy game by Fat Cat. Not as dominant in the scrum as he would like to have been, but I think that’s a pack issue rather than an individual one. A very astute player who reads the game so well and is able to judge the right option most of the time – 7.

16 Saia Faingaa: A what you could describe as an ‘unfortunate’ impact from the bench. A stupid and dangerous tackle led to a deserved Yellow Card. As the commentary team suggested though, it lead to the Wallabies lifting their game and arguably won them the match – 1.

17 James Slipper: Came on much earlier than he would have anticipated and worked hard. The scrum wasn’t entirely solid, but he was prominent around the field and has impressive mobility for a big lad – 6.

18 Dean Mumm: Had just under half an hour I believe. Didn’t have a massive impact – 5.

19 Richard Brown: Actually provided some impact from the bench, which is the place from which he has produced his best Wallaby performances – 6.

20 Luke Burgess: Now THIS was the replacement that should encourage Deans to use the bench more. Burgo was fantastic when he came on.  He definitely raised the intensity and provided a legitimate impact on both teams. Excellent – 7.

21 Berrick Barnes: Another very positive impact from the bench with a beautiful pass forthe Mitchell try and an important kick – 6.

22 Anthony Faingaa: Was on for less than 10 minutes and made a couple of composed strng runs and not much more – 5.

All in all a excellent, and record breaking win, for a developing Wallaby team that we should embrace and celebrate. Now…to step up again next week v the All Blacks.

Ratings Scale:

10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke

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The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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