Wales v South Africa: Wales player ratings

15. L Halfpenny: 6
Halfpenny was unsurprisingly flawless from the kicking tee, slotting all five of his attempts, which kept his side within touching distance for much of the match. But he failed to make any ground with ball in hand and was at fault for South Africa’s third try.

14. G North: 5
He desperately tried to impose himself on the match but was not given an inch and starved of ball. The Northampton Saint spent most of the night in the pursuit of high balls and claimed everything that came near him. However, he will be disappointed to have been effortlessly shrugged off by Habana in the build up to the first try.

13. J Davies: 7
Provided Wales with plenty of impetus early on and made inroads into South African territory with two powerful breaks. But his evening was cut short when he injured his pectoral muscle in the 11th minute and he was sorely missed after being replaced by Ashley Beck.

12. S Williams: 4
Williams was a bystander during much of this Test match. He saw very little of the ball and never looked to threaten the visiting defence.

11. Liam Williams: 5
The winger was knocked out cold when he valiantly attempted to slow down a rampant Du Plessis, in the 11th minute, and was carted off by the Welsh physiotherapists to be replaced by James Hook.

10. R Priestland: 4
While Priestland looked eager to keep the ball in hand, he failed to set the backline in motion and struggled against the aggressive Springbok defence. He kicked poorly out of hand which allowed South Africa to dominate the territorial battle and failed to test the visiting back three.

9. M Phillips: 5
It was a tough evening for Philips. He kicked well and made yards with the ball in hand. However, he was gobbled up by the South African pack and his slow distribution made it difficult for Wales to create any impetus, while his opposite number took it upon himself to control the tempo of the match.

1. G Jenkins: 6
Earning his 99th cap, the veteran prop was industrious in the loose. He made a nuisance of himself at the break down, launched himself into tackles and ran hard at the opposition. But he struggled in the scrum against debutant Frans Malherbe and was penalised in the 57th minute after collapsing a series of scrums.

2. R Hibbard: 7
In the first 20 minutes Hibbard was rudely introduced to a gear called reverse. But the hooker dug himself out of the turf and went straight back at the Springboks, he carried with brutal intent and hit everything in a green jersey. But he was overshadowed by his opposite man and driven back in the scrum.

3. A Jones: 5
Jones struggled against the awesome power of the South African front row in the scrum and was at times anonymous in the loose. He limped off with a calf injury in the first half and was replaced by Scott Andrews.

4. B Davies: 7
The second row gave as good as he got, he matched the Springboks physicality and refused to give an inch in defence. The Cardiff man carried with force and made a brilliant break in the 28th minute. He was also Wales’ go-to guy at the lineout and commanded the airways.

5. A-W Jones: 6
He was tenacious in defence and never shied away from taking the ball in hand. As effective as ever in the lineout although he was clearly the second option, but Jones failed to assert is authority and looked disappointed when he was bought off in the 72nd minute.

6. D Lydiate: 6
Put his neck on the line and chopped down the colossal South Africans with gusto which bought Warburton into his element. But he carried to little effect and in defence and his tireless work at the breakdown reaped little reward.

7. S Warburton: 8
It was a superb performance from the Welsh captain. He was outstanding at the breakdown, slowing down and stealing South African ball at every opportunity. He made crucial turnovers, many of which were made when his side were retreating rapidly. Warburton lead from the front and did well to rally his troops after they suffered several casualties in a brutal first half.

8. T Faletau : 7
Took the ball into the heart of the South African defence and made small but valuable gains almost every time he was called upon. Faletau was as relentless in attack as he was in defence and stopped many of the Springbok runners dead in their tracks.

Replacements: 6
Warren Gatland was forced into using the majority of his substitutes inside the first 40 minutes. We saw glimpses of Hook’s brilliance when he came on, but he had little influence on the game. Beck was unable to fill the big boots of Davies and Andrews was withdrawn 10 minutes after his introduction. James and Owens held their own in the scrum but Tipuric proved ineffective, while Williams and Charteris were given little time to make an impact.

By Nathan Hyde (@nathanhyde2)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

9 thoughts on “Wales v South Africa: Wales player ratings

  1. Fair assessment. Would be good to see Warbs have a game like that when everyone else around him is also playing well. I’m getting worried by AWJs ability to constantly find himself in the centres and thus lose the ball in turnovers. I thought Priestland merited a five as our backline moved better than it has for most games but agree that key decisions were wrong – too much ball kicked away.

  2. Obviously the tactic which Gatland wanted was to kick ball away, he needs to change his approach and he needs to let the welsh backs do what they are best at which is attack, attack, attack

    I thought Priestland done well to get the backs performing a lot better than they have done previously , the key loss was unfortunately Jonathan Davies and it affected a lot coz Beck just didn’t have the same presence in the backline as Foxy did

  3. I thought Wales were largely impressive. Losing Davies and Jones is brutal for Wales – they unfortunately do not have the strength in depth that other nations have. A first XV for Wales could beat these top sides, but as soon as they have a few injuries they look a lot less impressive.

    I thought Warburton was fantastic! Absolutely brilliant in every aspect of his game. Still thought Lydiate was one dimensitonal though, Falatau was very good though.

    About 5 minutes before the 3rd SA try, when Wales were camped on the SA try line, it summed them up a little bit. They never seemed like they really thought they could score, and after bashing their way up a couple times they seemed to run out of ideas and duly got turned over. With a slightly different approach, a bit of invention and 7 pointer there the game could have been different. Obviously that is easy to say but actually scoring is difficult!

    Wales seem to lack two things for me, a plan B, and the belief that they can score against and beat the SH sides.

    1. I’d say that perhaps the problem was a lack of Plan C. Plan B seemed to me to be to use JDs newfound ability to run into space with the support and speed of Walker or even 1/2p joining the line from FB.

      Not an excuse, just wish I could have seen what Walker might have done in that game.

      1. Just remember Brighty that it was the coaches clever plan to withdraw him at the last minute!!!!!!!!! ;-) Would also liked to have seen what he could do – and Wade!

        1. SL couldn’t let the photo’s, that Ashton clearly must have, out into the public. He must do whatever he can to enable selection of the balsa-wood, revolving-door, northern chunter monkey.

  4. Personally thought that some of these ratings were a bit harsh. 1/2p played most of the game away from his best position, and I thought much of the pack deserved better. Even thought Philips played better than usual, and I’m not a fan of his.

    However, I’m sorry but the comment “when he valiantly attempted to slow down a rampant Du Plessis” about Williams actually should have read, “when he failed to make the tackle”. Nothing valiant about it – he’s an international rugby player so make the tackle.

  5. Thought rhys priestland deserves better than a 4. The kicking game was bad as a whole not just priestland. His attacking game was also the best in the backline after davies left the field. I was on the edge of my seat everytime he got the ball.

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