South Africa

Wallabies vs Springboks: Tri-Nations first test player ratings

Wallabies vs Springboks: Tri-Nations first test player ratings

Here are my ratings for the Australia vs South Africa first test. See if it tallies with how you saw it. Scoring system at bottom.

15 Adam Ashley-Cooper I feel sorry for the guy being shoved into this position, but crucial tri-nations games aren’t the place to learn 4

14 Peter Hynes – Backs himself and doesn’t slow into tackles. Great cover tackle and then counter ruck late in the game. 6

13 Stirling Mortlock (c), Trademark bulldoze took the game from the Saffas until Botha’s cheap shot 6

12 Berrick Barnes, Liking the look of this guy more and more. Adds so many options, also rock solid in defense. 7

11 Lote Tuqiri, Whatever Lote has done this year to effect this change in attitude and performance, I’m loving it. Masterful under high balls, try scoring and assisting, pick and drives, tackle busting, vital hit on DeVilliers at the death, he did it all last night. A contender for MoM 8

10 Matt Giteau, whether it was the service from Burgess, the pressure from the jaapies or his own performance, it didn’t quite gel for him on Saturday. Also still doing a lot of lateral movement and trying to tackle with his head (the Spies miss) 5

9 Luke Burgess, criticism of his passing has been exaggerated in my opinion. For example, twice Moore came into the line to then leave the ball. Burgess also buys so much time with his service, it’s almost a price worth paying. Also tried a few things that didn’t come off this time, but will in the future 4

8 Wycliff Palu, on second view Cliffy made a hell of a lot of hard yards while protecting the ball at the back. 6

7 George Smith, back to near his best, he shattered the Springbok’s momentum time and again with turnovers, while pulling off bootlace tackles left, right and centre. His turnovers had the biggest single impact on the whole match. G&GRs man of the match. 8

6 Rocky Elsom, how the hell he managed to have the game he did with what looked like a buggered knee is beyond me. Fought like a giant at every breakdown and for every yard he carried. 8

5 Nathan Sharpe, carried solidly and was all over Matfield (largely illegally) at every line-out as well as smashing him off the kick off. Did cost the Wallabies 6 of SA’s 9 points though. 6

4 James Horwill, you would have thought this guy had been playing international rugby for years. Was everywhere throughout the game and looked like the senior partner to Sharpe. 7

3 Al Baxter, a solid scrum, even some penalties against them. I’m happy. 6

2 Stephen Moore, straight throwing – including the monster that started off Tuqiri’s try – and lots of carries. Got a little in the way a few times though, and got skinned by The Beast. 6

1 Benn Robinson, More than solid scrum, some good carries and even a turnover or two. 7

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, didn’t see enough to comment
17 Matt Dunning, not on for long, a couple of good pick and gos
18 Hugh McMeniman, brought some energy when he came on
19 Phil Waugh, only on for 3 minutes and he stole a turnover
20 Sam Cordingley, pass was no better than Burgess’ usual delivery
21 Ryan Cross, didn’t detract when he came on but not as sparkling as he debut 6
22 Drew Mitchell. didn’t see enough to comment (did he get on?)

Rating system:
10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Man of the match worthy performance
8 – Outstanding
7 – Good game, great in parts
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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