The Springboks blew hot and cold against the Pumas in the historic Rugby Championship Test at Newlands on Saturday.
Whilst the result was never in doubt, failing to bag a four-try bonus point against the newcomers on home soil could come back to hurt the Boks in the grander scheme of things.
Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the Springbok players.
15 Zane Kirchner
Vindicated his selection and then some. He was full of running from the back, joined the line at the right times and straightened well to grab the opening try of the match. Also kicked accurately and got good distance out of hand.
14 Bryan Habana
For a specialist left wing, he ran some good lines on the right wing, especially off Francois Hougaard’s shoulder. His hunger for Test rugby is definitely back and it showed in his chasing of up-and-unders. Did exceptionally well to field Morne Steyn’s cross-field kick and dot down.
13 Jean de Villiers
Ran hard, tackled harder and more importantly, make the right decisions as captain to pursue the four-try bonus point that ultimately eluded the Boks.
12 Frans Steyn
Great hands early on to shift the ball wide and into space and lethal charging up and setting the tone from first phase.
11 Lwazi Mvovo
Showed great commitment to pluck the ball out of the air and a surprisingly solid left boot. Remains to be seen whether he did enough to hold on to his starting berth.
10 Morné Steyn
A much-needed morale-boosting performance for Steyn. In addition to returning to form with his goal-kicking, he played flatter on attack and showed good vision to stab through a pinpoint cross-field kick for Habana.
9 François Hougaard
Much-improved tactical kicking but it came at the expense of his natural attacking game as he hardly sniped around the fringes. Looked livelier when he moved to the wing and could find himself trading the number nine jersey for the 11 jumper next week.
8 Keegan Daniel
An industrious but ultimately unconvincing performance. Conditions were perfectly suited to Daniel‘s game but he failed to inject the x-factor he is renowned for.
7 Willem Alberts
Lived up to his ‘Bone Collector’ moniker on defence and was a destructive force on second and third phase with ball in hand. No impetus was lost when he moved to eighthman and he could well start in jersey eight next week.
6 Marcell Coetzee
Showed good, low body position to score his first Test try which increased his enthusiasm and saw him deliver an all-action effort for the full 80 minutes.
5 Andries Bekker
A solid return to Test rugby. Eight takes in 58 minutes says all that needs to be said about his line-out prowess.
4 Eben Etzebeth
Starting to find his feet at Test level. Playing against such hard-nosed opposition will do Etzebeth and fellow youngster Coetzee the world of good in their development.
3 Jannie du Plessis
Cynical late shoulder charge on Juan Martín Hernández but scrummed well against highly regarded veteran Rodrigo Roncero.
2 Bismarck du Plessis
Seems to have suffered a serious knee injury. Not enough time to be rated.
1 Tendai Mtawarira
Traded blows well with Juan Figallo in the scrums and showed his mobility across the park.
16 Adriaan Strauss (on for Du Plessis, fifth minute)
The only positive that came out of Du Plessis’ injury was the assured manner in which Strauss stood in for him. The situation didn’t overwhelm the Cheetahs captain and there was just the solitary timing issue in an otherwise well-functioning line-out.
17 Pat Cilliers (on for Du Plessis, 31st minute – concussion bin)
Not enough time to be rated.
18 Flip van der Merwe (on for Bekker, 58th minute)
Added extra grunt to the pack but he is a different type of player than Bekker and cannot be asked to play the five lock role.
19 Jacques Potgieter (on for Daniel, 52nd minute)
Much like the man he replaced he failed to stamp his authority on the game and could find himself dropping out of the matchday 22.
20 Ruan Pienaar (on for Mvovo, 60th minute)
His good form off the bench makes a strong case for Hougaard to move to the wing.
21 Pat Lambie
22 JJ Engelbrecht (on for Habana, 69th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.