Springboks player ratings: ‘Extraordinary’ Edwill shines on debut as the pack obliterates Wales

Jared Wright
Springboks winger Edwill van der Merwe and number eight Evan Roos.

How we rated the Springboks in their first Test match of the year.

Following the Springboks’ 41-13 victory over Wales at Twickenham Stadium, here is how we rated Rassie Erasmus’ charges.

Springboks player ratings v Wales

15 Aphelele Fassi: Yellow card aside, it was a standout performance in his first Springbok start in his preferred position. He was superb under the high ball, beat a few defenders and it was the kind of performance that will see him add to his Test cap tally. Fantastic from Fassi overall. 7

14 Edwill van der Merwe: An absolutely stunning solo try to kick start his international career, which was rather fitting considering his overall performance. He was initially overlooked by the Bok coaching staff before the official training squad was announced but took his chance with both hands. Extraordinary performance in all facets of the game, showing real fight with two tackles in a matter of seconds in the first half. He has forced his way up the pecking order at least. 9

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Springboks shake off rust as debutant shines in convincing victory over Wales

13 Jesse Kriel: Scored and assisted a try as Kriel continued his stunning form in the Springboks jersey. Defensively astute too as he showed little signs of rust. He is going to be crucial for the Boks going forward, as he was in 2023. 8

12 Andre Esterhuizen: Used more as a misdirection on attack as he charged to the line before playing it out the back. It worked superbly for Makazole Mapimpi’s try and kept the Welsh defence guessing. Strong when he did carry to the line and defended well, giving Mason Grady little to work with. 7

11 Makazole Mapimpi: Stock standard with what you’d expect: superb under the high ball and lethal when given a sniff of the line. He scored his 27th try in 42 Tests, and even at 33, he shows no sign of slowing down. 6

10 Jordan Hendrikse: A mixed bag from the debutant with the nerves well and truly showing. Multiple errors in his game, but there were some positives, including good link-up play for Mapimpi’s try and some great passes. He will be proud to have finally made his debut but perhaps a bit disappointed by his overall performance. He won’t be a one-Test wonder. 3

9 Faf de Klerk: Like Malcolm Marx, De Klerk was making his return from injury. A few trademark brilliant box kicks but not a box office performance. Still, solid enough despite some poor passes. 4

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Planet Rugby player ratings key 10 - Career defining performance 9 - Outright blockbuster effort 8 - Significantly influenced the result of the game 7 - Committed and effective outing 6 - Flashes of brilliance outside of executing fundamentals 5 - Fulfilling the role required by position (base level) 4 - Poor execution of fundamentals 3 - Costly errors and/or discipline in the game 2 - Poor performance that directly impacted the result 1 - Grossly ineffective throughout 0 - Should have carried water instead

Loose forwards

8 Evan Roos: Conceded a silly penalty near the end of the first half, but overall, it was a solid fifth Test cap for Roos, who powered through the Welsh defence, was solid on defence and almost scored a try after a brilliant break. 7

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (c): The Boks’ busiest tackler shone with the ball in hand too and, on the whole, made good decisions as skipper. After losing his first Test as captain, he now has a 50% win ratio, and it is thoroughly deserved. A strong performance in his trademark fashion. 7

6 Kwagga Smith: His battle stats will be off the charts again as he got stuck into just about everything. However, he was on the wrong side of the whistle on three occasions. Smith was aggressive and effective throughout the 80 minutes and this Test was important for him to shake off the rust after his injury and that penalty count will come down. 6


5 Franco Mostert: Twice on the wrong side of the whistle but Mostert was another who put in the kind of performance that is expected of him. He ran the lineout well, made 11 tackles and, carried well and cleared out rucks well. 6

4 Eben Etzebeth: Unsurprisingly, he put a huge amount of pressure on the Welsh scrum-halves with his charge-down attempts. He carried well, got two offloads away and was aggressive in the breakdown. 5

3 Vincent Koch: A rare start as he notched up his half-century of Test caps and did so with a dominant scrummaging performance. Rather quiet outside of his set-piece excellence but that won’t worry the Boks. 6

2 Malcolm Marx: A promising 45 minutes back in Test rugby as he got stuck into the physical side of the match, pilfering over to slow down the Welsh attack. He had the odd lineout wobble but was part of a dominant scrum. 5

1 Ox Nche: Huge shift from the loosehead prop who didn’t give Wales an inch in the scrums and notched up a respectable nine tackles and won a turnover. 8

Replacements: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu looked like a seasoned Springbok with a promising Test debut. Bongi Mbonambi was perhaps fortunate that he escaped a sanction for his head tackle but sure-up the scrum and lineout, grabbing a try too. Grant Williams also added an injection of pace while the rest of the bench kept the tempo as the Boks powered to victory. 7

READ MORE: Wales player ratings: Dewi Lake ‘stands up’ to Springboks physicality but Warren Gatland’s men overwhelmed by world champions