Wales ended their Autumn International series with a victory over South Africa to secure their fourth win from four, thus making it their most successful return in history. Here’s how the players rated…
15. Liam Williams – 8/10
Took his try well, looks at his best at fullback. Has given Gatland a selection dilemma for the Six Nations.
14. George North – 7/10
Didn’t see much of the ball, but always a threat. A fit George North is a very dangerous prospect for any opposition.
13. Jonathan Davies – 7/10
Useful break to set up Biggar’s winning penalty. Barely saw the ball otherwise but effective as ever.
12. Hadleigh Parkes – 8/10
Solid. Will never light the world up in attack but made 12 tackles and is forming a useful centre partnership with Jonathan Davies.
11. Josh Adams – 7/10
Similarly to North, Adams didn’t see a great deal of the ball but looked dangerous when in possession. Strong defensively against the threat of Cheslin Kolbe.
10. Gareth Anscombe – 8/10
Missed touch twice from penalties, but showed exactly why Gatland values him so highly with a sumptuous pass for the second try. Always good going forward.
9. Gareth Davies – 7/10
Always a threat from open-play, and helped Anscombe control the game. Does seem to have lost some of his liveliness around the fringes of late.
1. Nicky Smith – 6/10
Very quiet, and part of a Welsh front-row dominated by its South African counterpart.
2. Ken Owens – 8/10
So solid with his line-out throwing. Lively in the loose as always, and has become such a pivotal member of this Wales team.
3. Tomas Francis – 7/10
Ran a good support line off Ellis Jenkins to score his first international try. Struggled at the scrum.
4. Adam Beard – 7/10
Dealing with international rugby well, and very useful in the line-out with such great height at his disposal.
5. Alun Wyn Jones – 8/10
Brilliant leader. Carried a lot to little effect, but remarkably solid and seldom makes mistakes, which is a valuable quality for any international forward.
6. Ellis Jenkins – 9/10
Broke the line brilliantly for the first try, dealt with the difficulty of coming into the team late well. Won vital turnover at the end of the first half when Wales were under huge pressure on their own line. Phenomenal performance.
7. Justin Tipuric – 8/10
Adds something completely different to the Welsh team. Seems to perform better when alongside another openside. Don’t be surprised if Gatland opts for the Jenkins-Tipuric axis in the back row in future.
8. Ross Moriarty – 5/10
Left the fray early with a head injury.
Dan Biggar was so cool and completely changed the momentum of the game. Tomos Williams looked lively and added something different.
Total – 110/150
15. Willie Le Roux – 7/10
Didn’t get involved in attack as he might have done, but defensively solid and entered the attack as a second receiver well.
14. Cheslin Kolbe – 8/10
Such a threat with his side-steps. Performed impressively when called upon at the 11th hour.
13. Jesse Kriel – 7/10
Inches from scoring on the stroke of half-time, but made up for it by finishing easily for South Africa’s first try.
12. Damian de Allende – 6/10
Struggled to assert himself, replaced by Elton Jantjies early in the second-half.
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi – 7/10
Barely saw the ball, but rapid in attack and dealt with George North well.
10. Handre Pollard – 8/10
Looks good in open-play, and has managed to add great control to his game. Long distance boot is very dangerous.
9. Embrose Papier – 8/10
Brilliant first-half break and was unfortunate not to score from it. Takes some player to keep Faf de Klerk from the team completely.
1. Steven Kitshoff – 7/10
Part of a dominant South African front-row. Carried and defended well.
2. Malcolm Marx – 8/10
Won three brilliant turnovers in the first-half, but sold badly for the first try and is beginning to become something of a defensive liability.
3. Frans Malherbe – 7/10
Scrummaged well. Very quiet in the loose but competed effectively in the set-piece.
4. RG Snyman – 5/10
Replaced very early after unfortunate injury. No time to make an impact.
5. Franco Mostert – 7/10
So busy in defence, but South Africa could’ve done with a greater carrying impact from their big lock.
6. Siya Kolisi – 7/10
Went on one rampaging run, and an effective game from the man behind the Springboks’ impressive revival this year.
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit – 8/10
Almost scored early on, very busy in defence and carried the ball well. Has been brilliant this season during South Africa’s revival.
8. Duane Vermeulen – 8/10
Carried with great effect. His impact on this South African team cannot be overstated.
Elton Jantjies changed the game positively, while Eben Etzebeth performed well on his return from injury.