England 13-27 South Africa: Autumn Nations Series player ratings

Eben Etzebeth helped hammer home South Africa’s advantage but Jonny Hill’s indiscipline could cost him his place


15 Freddie Steward A lesser-spotted Steward fumble early on and kicked out on the full. Kept on going but not at the standards he has set himself this month. 5/10

14 Tommy Freeman Could not get into the game in the first half and was replaced at the interval. Not really his fault, but anonymous. 4/10

13 Manu Tuilagi Unable to make big dents and largely limited to some hard yards. Always occupies defenders but has been relatively subdued all autumn. 5/10

12 Owen Farrell (capt) Two bad misses from the tee, one or two decent carries but could not spark his team into life like last week. When England are this bad throughout he must take his share of blame. 4/10

11 Jonny May Did his best to involve himself from the off but the stop-start nature of the contest didn’t really suit him. Still a little off the pace. 4/10

10 Marcus Smith Kicking from hand was too deep and eventually South Africa worked out how to take advantage. In the wars as well. Not his day. 4/10

9 Jack van Poortvliet A more assured start this week but another who kicked too deep. Started to snipe as England grew desperate but with mixed success. 5/10

1 Mako Vunipola Gave away a penalty at scrum time, won another but had his work cut out against Malherbe before he was part of an entire front row replaced at interval. 4/10

2 Jamie George His lineout throwing was fine but did not save him the shepherd’s crook at half-time. Not much of an impact with ball in hand. 4/10

3 Kyle Sinckler Another who was up against it at scrum time and though he made a few robust carries, no real opportunity to show his handling skills. 4/10

4 Maro Itoje Fired up from the word go and ripped ball from Roos early on. Did his best to get stuck into Etzebeth but one of those days when he tries too hard. 6/10

5 Jonny Hill Discipline simply not good enough and gave away stupid penalty when needlessly man-handling De Klerk. Place may come under threat after a poor November. 3/10

6 Alex Coles Recalled to the side for his second start but was another whose discipline let him down, twice giving away penalties for his tackles. 4/10

7 Tom Curry Won a penalty at the breakdown early on but this hasn’t really been his autumn, save for a strong finish against New Zealand, and yellow card summed up his day. 5/10

8 Billy Vunipola Disappointing knock-on in the second half, a little bit hesitant with ball in hand. Not a great autumn campaign all things considered. 4/10

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie (for George, ht) Didn’t die wondering 6; Ellis Genge (for M Vunipola, ht) Could not reverse the tide 5; Will Stuart (for Sinckler, ht) No try-scoring heroics this time 5; David Ribbans (for Coles, 47) Plenty of endeavour 6; Sam Simmonds (for B Vunipola, 56) n/a; Ben Youngs (for Van Poortvliet, 67) Added some zip 6; Henry Slade (for Smith, 60) Took try well 6; Jack Nowell (for Freeman, ht) Busy on the right 7.

Siya Kolisi, the South Africa captain, takes a selfie with fans after the game
Siya Kolisi, the South Africa captain, takes a selfie with fans after the game. Photograph: Matt Impey/Shutterstock

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux Exuded a calm authority at the back throughout and teed up Arendse. One of those players who looks like he has all the time in the world. 8/10

14 Kurt-Lee Arendse Finished off delightful try with sidestep past Smith and came up with an excellent tackle on Steward. Pint-sized but lethal. 8/10

13 Jesse Kriel Not many frills to this hard-running centre but not the kind of occasion that called for them with such little rugby played by either side. 6/10

12 Damian de Allende Solid, not particularly spectacular but performs precisely the role asked of him in this kind of system. Mr Reliable. 6/10

11 Makazole Mapimpi No real opportunity to show how potent a finisher he is with all the action on the other wing. No complaints, though. 6/10

10 Damian Willemse Once he worked out where the space was, he was lethal when running from deep. On target with a couple of drop goals, too. 8/10

9 Faf De Klerk On kicking duties, which only added to the sense that the scrum-half general was in charge. Marshalled his troops superbly. 8/10

1 Ox Nché Gave Sinckler plenty to think about at the scrum and made his presence felt in the loose, justifying his starting role. 7/10

2 Bongi Mbonambi Played his part in a clever lineout move that didn’t quite come off but kept England guessing. Did his job before making way for Marx. 7/10

3 Frans Malherbe Got the early hand at the scrum and turned the screw. Stayed on for almost an hour, showing just how vital he was to the side. 8/10

4 Eben Etzebeth Capped an excellent showing with a try that hammered home South Africa’s advantage. Outplayed Itoje with room to spare. 9/10

5 Marvin Orie A mixed bag with one penalty against early in the contest and a handling error shortly before he was replaced, with some hard yards in between. 6/10

6 Siya Kolisi Spoke about the frustrations of last year’s defeat beforehand but made up for it 12 months on with a typically tireless performance. 8/10

7 Franco Mostert Gets through a ton of work that does not always command attention but ensures this pack is so difficult to play against. 8/10

8 Evan Roos Stripped of the ball by Itoje early on but settled down thereafter and carried hard. Looks to have a bright future ahead of him. 6/10

Replacements: Malcolm Marx (for Mbonambi, 46) Limpet-like at the breakdown 8; Steven Kitshoff (for Nché, 46) Kept the pressure on 7; Thomas du Toit (for Malherbe, 58) Mindless red card 2; Marco van Staden (for Roos, 53) Got stuck in 6; Kwagga Smith (for Orie, 45) Added a bit of quality 7; Jaden Hendrikse (for De Klerk, 73) n/a; Manie Libbok (for Le Roux, 62) n/a; Canan Moodie (for Ardense, 78) n/a.


Gerard Meagher at Twickenham

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