The Wallabies went down to a dangerous South Africa team, but how did the individual players stand up in the 35-17 loss?
1. James Slipper
It was his first Wallabies game for 959 days, but Slipper struggled to find his groove in the first half in a receding front row. He went off with an injury early in the second stanza.
2. Folau Fainga’a
He wasn’t as involved as coach Michael Cheika would’ve liked early on, but he did start to insert himself into the game as it wore on. His lineout throwing was reasonable, and you’d imagine he will hold onto that starting hooker position for next week.
3. Sekope Kepu
He conceded a penalty at scrum time but made some hard-hitting tackles. The Wallabies front row was certainly stronger after he, Fainga’a and Slipper went off.
4. Izack Rodda
This was a pretty quiet game for him, but he managed to recover a couple of off-target throws for the Aussies before he was subbed off in the 58th minute. The Reds enforcer also tried hard to disrupt the hosts’ lineouts, with only limited success. He recovered an overthrown lineout in the first half and tried hard to disrupt the Bok jumpers.
5. Rory Arnold
He won a lineout against the throw when South Africa were in the Aussie 22, but he didn’t do much else all game.
6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
He would’ve scored the first Wallabies try had Samu Kerevi’s pass to him been legal. He worked hard in defence throughout the game.
7. Michael Hooper (c)
He didn’t have the usual monster of a game, but he did a fair share of tackling right throughout the match. His decision to not take three points within shadows of half-time came under some scrutiny, however.
8. Isi Naisarani
The uncapped No. 8 found himself in the action, making ten runs and gaining 53 metres. While the Wallabies struggled with the gain line at times, he caused some issues for the home team. He was also called on to jump in the lineout, more so early in the game.
9. Nic White
Knocking Will Genia back to the bench, White pushed his case for Rugby World World Cup selection. He provided good service from halfback and kicked well tactically. One of the better players in the loss, he seems to be much more polished since going to Exeter.
10. Bernard Foley
He knocked over his three attempts at goal, but the pressure of general play kicking was taken away. South Africa targeted his defensive channel at times and it took his attacking game out of the equation for much of the game. To be fair to Foley, he scored a right place, right time try with nine minutes left.
11. Reece Hodge
A fair game for the Manly product. He didn’t do a lot of ball-running, but he put in a few good kicks and made a couple of catches.
12. Samu Kerevi
He made a number of runs, amassing 162 metres, and found some holes in the South African defence. However, he threw a forward pass to Salakaia-Loto, causing the Queenslander’s runaway try to be overturned. Almost every time the Wallabies tried to run a set move he was given the ball. He made some tackles when it counted as well.
13. Tevita Kuridrani
A very quiet game for this particular centre, and he was subbed off for Matt To’omua before the 60-minute mark.
14. Dane Haylett-Petty
It was a mixed game for DHP. He spun in for a try in the first half before bombing one from a Bernard Foley kick at a crucial point of the game. He made some great catches under the high ball, and his kicking was pretty functional.
His main blunder was committing to a ruck late in the game, where he should’ve stayed back in the defensive line. From this, Herschel Jantjies darted through the newly-found space to score.
15. Tom Banks
Had a solid game for his fourth cap. South Africa kept him on his feet all night, forcing him to go sideline to sideline to recover their kicks, but did his job well in that regard. He also took over kicking duties in general play for Australia after doing this all season for the Brumbies. He made a last-line-of-defence tackle in the first half to stop Elton Jantjies in his tracks, although the Boks did cross the line.
16. Jordan Uelese
His first throw upon coming onto the field wasn’t straight. Only a few minutes later he was taken off the field for a head injury assessment.
17. Harry Johnson-Holmes
For a debut, it was a good performance. The scrum improved at the change of the front rowers, and he was a big part of that.
18. Taniela Tupou
He ran out of the line to make a tackle soon after coming on. Earnt a yellow card by cleaning out a player after the whistle, which cruelled the Wallabies’ chances.
19. Rob Simmons
Did his job at lineout time, keeping up the good work of the starting second-rowers.
20. Jack Dempsey
Was substituted on late in the game, but you’d be hard pushed to spot him out there. Didn’t have the impact he was meant to.
21. Will Genia
Came onto the field for Nic White. Serviceable from halfback, and his few kicks were alright. Could very possibly start against Argentina, and we’ll get a better idea then.
22. Matt To’omua
He came on for Kuridrani. Looked dangerous in his few touches, but would’ve had a bigger impact playing more minutes. Also made the pop pass to Kurtley Beale which led to Foley’s try.
23. Kurtley Beale
He was subbed on to inject some X factor into the game and did just that. He ran into a hole after a pass from Genia and threw a great offload to Foley. On another occasion he linked up with Hooper in the wide channel, but it didn’t come to anything.