Rugby Championship 2014: Australia v South Africa head to head ratings


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No.AustraliaRatingSouth AfricaRating
1.James Slipper – Will find himself under pressure against a superior Saffa scrum. His work in the loose has improved recently though.7Tendai Mtawarira The Beast is back in the starting lineup and he should have a field day against the Australian pack.8
2.James Hanson – Is this the Wallabies’ 10th choice hooker? Not the best technically and the lineout could be a real problem.5.5Adriaan Strauss – With Bismarck on the bench, it’s obvious that South Africa feel confident. Strauss is a great replacement though and he loves an interception.8
3.Sekope Kepu – Has been superb for the Tahs this season. Been around a while but still needs to prove his worth on the international stage.7.5Jannie du Plessis – Struggled against the Argentines but should fare better this week. Another player who needs a strong showing.7
4.Sam Carter – Played steadily against New Zealand but has to work harder in the loose. He’s only young and has a chance to cement a lock position.6.5Eben Etzebeth – Argentina shut him down well but now that he is less rusty, he has a great chance to terrorise the Australians… and probably earn a yellow card.8.5
5.Rob Simmons – Made eight tackles last week and performed well in the lineout. Shouldn’t shy away from Springbok physicality.7.5Victor Matfield – Replaces Lood de Jager and is probably selected to unsettle the opposition. A job the experienced lock loves.8
6.Scott Fardy – Yet another player who had a strong domestic season. Imposed himself in the Kiwi matches and needs to do the same again.8Francois Louw – Amongst the best flankers in the world. A strong runner and can tackle anything thrown at him all day.9
7.Michael Hooper (c) – The young captain led from the front in the last test. Lightning quick and another player that won’t stop tackling.8.5Marcell Coetzee – Has already made a huge impact in this Championship both starting and coming off the bench. Great carrier and tackler.8
8.Wycliff Palu – Needs to be at his best against a strong tackling backrow, but he has the ability to do it. Superb hands for a big man.8Duane Vermuelen – Regularly hits double figures with every carry he makes. Will look to test Hooper and Fardy.8.5
9.Nick Phipps – One half of the Tahs half-back duo. Has a beatutiful crisp pass and is a great support runner.7.5Ruan Pienaar – Another scrum-half with a great pass and a boot to match. Will be looking to pin Australia back in their own half.8
10.Bernard Foley – The other half of the Tahs half-back duo. Loves taking the ball to the line and can put defences on the back foot very quickly.7.5Morne Steyn – Quite rightly replaces Handre Pollard after good showings from the bench. Expect lots of high balls and penalties for goal.8
11.Rob Horne – Is he international standard? Needs to go looking for the ball more often.6.5Bryan Habana – A 100th cap for the fastest man in South Africa. He still plays like a 21 year old and he’s not afraid to do the dirty work for little personal reward.8.5
12.Matt Toomua – Up against it in the shape of Jean de Villiers and he needs a run of good games to hold down his place. Underperforming at the moment.6.5Jean de Villiers – Eclipsed by his opposite number last time out but this week it should be a different story. Leads from the front.7.5
13.Tevita Kuridrani – Steps into the starting lineup after Pat McCabe’s retirement. Technically a brilliant tackler and strong with ball in hand.7Jan Serfontein – Will look to run through the Australian centres all day. Quick, strong and loves a turnover.8
14.Adam Ashley-Cooper – Not AAC’s best position. Hits brilliant lines though and steadier than most in defence. A good finisher but won’t run in from 70 yards out.7.5Cornal Hendricks – Has the step and skill to put Rob Horne under some real pressure all game. Will almost definitely get on the scoresheet.7.5
15.Israel Folau – Skips through tackles with ease and is a superb support player. Will be kept busy by Steyn all day and needs to be at his best.8.5Wille le Roux – Only just shades Folau in all attacking departments. A magician with the ball and under it.9


Not the toughest prediction in the world to be honest; Australia’s heads will be down after their All Black humiliation and they will struggle in the set pieces. South Africa will be more confident now that they face a less imposing pack and their bench is by far the stronger. South Africa by 15.

By Calum Gillon (@C_Gillon)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

4 thoughts on “Rugby Championship 2014: Australia v South Africa head to head ratings

  1. Calum rates the Safas ahead on just about all the, er, head to heads, except on the one on the scoreboard.

    He also asks if Rob Horne is ‘international standard’ &’ that he needs to go looking for the ball more often’. Well he looked for it enough to score the winning I guess, but Habana, who outpointed Horne by 2.5 pts, got sent off!

    Ah well, Jamie did say that this ratings stuff is subjective.

    1. Don, this is a preview, written before the game (see date – Sept 5th – at the top). I suspect if Calum were to write a similar piece now, the scores would be a bit different.

      That said, I would still rate the SA team higher than than the Wallabies. They had a good day and deserved to win at the weekend, but collectively they’re not the better side, I don’t think.

  2. Jamie

    True. Was in a rush trying to play catch up, so Less haste on my part nxt time.

    I suspect you are right regds Calum.

    SA were ranked 2 when I last looked, so affirms yr view. Oz needed more invention in the backs as the SA ‘D’ cut them to pieces… until they missed THAT touch. The side which cuts down their error count, esp in an arm wrestle, gets the cigar?

    Simple game really. Mostly about playing basic, error free rugby.

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