Wales player ratings: In a painful encounter against the Springboks, Wales put up a valiant fight early but ultimately succumbed to the raw power and experience of the reigning world champions, and their own error-strewn performance.
While the final scoreline may not have favoured Gatland’s me, there were a handful of moments of tenacity and promise to be taken away from the proceedings, even if they’ll be disappointed not to have mounted a stiffer challenge.
1. Corey Domachowski – 5
Domachowski had a challenging day at the coalface, dealing with the ferocity of the Springbok scrum. Despite his best efforts, he found it tough to gain a foothold against a formidable pack.
2. Elliot Dee – 6
Dee showcased his reliability in the lineout and his unwavering commitment in the loose. He made his tackles count and offered some spark with ball in hand.
3. Keiron Assiratti – 5
Assiratti was thrust into the fray against a seasoned Springbok scrum, and while he held his own in patches, the pressure exerted by the opposition soon took its toll. He will undoubtedly learn from this experience.
4. Ben Carter – 5.5
A bright prospect in the second row, Carter showcased his potential with some robust carries and solid defensive work. However, even his youthful exuberance couldn’t entirely counteract the seasoned might of the Springbok locks.
5. Will Rowlands – 7
Rowlands exhibited his aerial prowess and physicality in the tight exchanges. The Racing 92 man worked hard to disrupt the Springbok lineout and provided some stability in the set pieces, but it was a tough ask against such a formidable opponent.
6. Dan Lydiate – 6.5
Lydiate, the seasoned campaigner, led by example in terms of his sheer defensive commitment. His trademark tackling technique and work rate were invaluable in slowing down the Springbok attack.
7. Jac Morgan – 8
Morgan exhibited flashes of his potential with turnovers and aggressive carries and even showcased his kicking abilities with a remarkable clearing kick in the 27th minute. He was a constant nuisance for the Springboks at the breakdown and is doing a fine job filling the boots of Justin Tipuric.
8. Aaron Wainwright – 6
Wainwright’s work rate and physicality were commendable throughout the match. He was a tireless presence in both attack and defence, offering glimpses of his versatility, but failed to really make a mark here.
9. Kieran Hardy – 5.5
Despite being on the back foot, Hardy provided quick service from the base of the ruck and showcased some sniping runs that kept the Springbok defence on their toes. However, he struggled as the Springboks pressured him hard and his intercepted pass just after effectively finished Wales just after halftime.
10. Sam Costelow – 6
Costelow had his moments of creativity, but he found it tough to unleash his full repertoire against the relentless Springbok defensive line. He was under consistent pressure and will look to grow from this experience.
11. Rio Dyer – 5
Got a bizarre yellow card from Andrew Brace after being adjudged to have purposefully knocked the ball into touch, even after the ball had gone beyond the Kurt-Lee Arendse grasp. Displayed glimpses of his electric pace and footwork, but those opportunities were few and far between. Found himself in noman’s land for the Boks’ try in the 68th minute.
12. Johnny Williams – 5
Williams fought hard in the midfield, engaging the Springbok defenders with his direct running lines. He was often tasked with breaking through a stout defence, and while he made some inroads, it was an uphill battle. Overplayed his hand on occasion when trying to make something happen.
13. Mason Grady – 4
Met with a brick wall of Springbok defence whenever in possession. He worked tirelessly, but a reckless pass when chasing back that directly lead to a South African try in the 35th minute will sadly be his biggest takeaway from this match.
14. Tom Rogers – 5
Struggled to make a case for himself on the wing despite some impressive defensive interventions. His failure to hunt down Jesse Kriel on his way to the try line will surely haunt the youngster.
15. Cai Evans – 7
The standout player in the Welsh division, he showed bravery under the high ball and attempted to ignite the counterattack whenever possible. He found himself under immense pressure from the Springboks, but he held his own.
REPLACEMENTS – 5
The substitutes injected fresh energy and impetus into the Welsh lineup, but they were up against a Springbok side that was firmly in control. While they brought their own intensity to the field, it was a challenge to shift the momentum. Former England prop Henry Thomas was an improvement at setpiece when he came on.