South Africa 18-3 Scotland player ratings: Manie Libbok excels

South Africa 18-3 Scotland player ratings: Manie Libbok excels for the Springboks while Blair Kinghorn makes sloppy handling errors

  • South Africa started their defence of the World Cup by beating Scotland 18-3 
  • Mannie Libbok produced an excellent performance as South Africa prevailed 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

South Africa started their defence of the World Cup with an 18-3 victory over Scotland.

Jesse Kriel was fortunate not to be sent off in the first minute after making contact with Jack Dempsey’s head. 

South Africa really stepped up in the second half and made matters very difficult for Scotland.

Mannie Libbok made a significant contribution for the Springboks. 

Mail Sport’s Callum Crowe assesses how the players from both teams fared. 


15 Damian Willemse – 8 – Brilliant under the high ball and put some accurate kicks in behind Scots defence.

14 Kurt-Lee Arendse – 8 – Continued his red-hot form by scampering away to score in the corner for the Boks’ second try.

13 Jesse Kriel – 6 – Lucky not to be sent off for making head-on-head contact with Dempsey inside the opening 60 seconds.

12 Damian de Allende – 7.5 – Key man in the Boks’ defensive line. Flew up with ferocious speed and power to shut down Russell.

11 Cheslin Kolbe – 7.5 – Little winger had one flying run in the second half and always looked lively throughout.

10 Manie Libbok – 8.5 – Made a vital tackle on Graham and also executed a pinpoint cross-field kick to create try for Arendse. Classy.

Manie Libbok produced a classy performance as he helped South Africa to prevail

9 Faf de Klerk – 7.5 – Put White under huge pressure and had a good game on his 50th cap.

1 Steven Kitshoff – 6.5 – Fairly quiet day for the loosehead before being replaced early in the second half.

2 Malcolm Marx – 7 – Boks hooker made a great hit on Schoeman which forced a knock-on in first half.

3 Frans Malherbe – 6.5 – Never really managed to assert his usual dominance in the scrum.

4 Eben Etzebeth – 7 – Put Scotland lineout under huge pressure and also won a key turnover before going off injured.

5 Franco Mostert – 8 – Charged down a kick from Russell inside the opening couple of minutes. Monstrous in defence.

Franco Mostert was monstrous in defence as South Africa managed to secure victory

6 Siya Kolisi – 8 – Boks’ inspirational skipper put in a couple of huge hits and was a menace at the breakdown.

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit – 8 – Former World Player of the Year powered over to score the game’s first try on 47 minutes. Colossal.

Pieter-Steph du Toit scored the first try of the game for South Africa in the 47th minute

8 Jasper Wiese – 7 – Normally a huge ball-carrying threat for the Boks but Scotland kept him fairly quiet.

Replacements: Snyman (for Etzebeth 26), Mbonambi (for Marx 48), Nche (for Kitshoff 53), Nyakane (for Malherbe 53), Vermeulen (for Wiese 60), Van Staden (for Kolisi 64), Le Roux (for Libbok 68), Williams (for De Klerk 75)


15 Blair Kinghorn – 6 – Sloppy handling errors under the high ball. Springboks obviously targeted him in that area.

Scotland’s Blair Kinghorn was guilty of making sloppy handling errors under the high ball

14 Darcy Graham – 6.5 – Held on to the ball for too long when he had men outside him. Should have been a try.

13 Huw Jones – 7 – Stood firm in the tackle and made a couple of crunching hits to help stem the tide.

12 Sione Tuipulotu – 6 – Was never able to find any time or space on the ball against water-tight South African defence.

11 Duhan van der Merwe – 6 – Largely anonymous. Springboks targeted him and swarmed around him to keep him quiet.

10 Finn Russell – 7 – Made some key tackles but struggled to deal with Boks’ line-speed. They shut him down and ensured space was at a premium.

9 Ben White – 7 – Box-kicks were pretty good but never really had quick ball to work with.

1 Pierre Schoeman – 7 – Carried hard and put up a good fight in the scrum before going off.

2 George Turner – 6.5 – Lineout throwing was poor. Scotland kept going long, which didn’t really work.

George Turner’s lineout throwing was poor, with Scotland frequently looking to go long

3 Zander Fagerson – 7.5 – Terrific effort to hold firm and win a couple of penalties in the scrum.

4 Richie Gray – 6.5 – Lineout never worked well at all but he put in a decent shift nevertheless.

5 Grant Gilchrist – 6.5 – Tackled well but outshone by Mostert and was replaced by Cummings in second half.

6 Jamie Ritchie – 6.5 – Skipper got involved in a first-half scuffle with Etzebeth but it wasn’t his best game.

7 Rory Darge – 7 – Was key in the first half as Scots matched Boks’ physicality before fading in second half.

8 Jack Dempsey – 7.5 –  Probably the pick of the forwards. Carried hard and also the top tackler with 11.

Jack Dempsey was probably the pick of Scotland’s forwards during their loss to South Africa

Replacements: Cherry (for Turner 56), Nel (for Z Fagerson 56), Bhatti (for Schoeman 56), Cummings (for Gilchrist 56), Smith (for Graham 68), Redpath (for Tuipulotu 68), M Fagerson (for Darge 65), Price (for White 67).

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