13 May 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld

SUPER RUGBY SA TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 13

Lone winners the Lions made inroads in the hotly-contested South African Conference in Super Rugby Round 13 action at the weekend.

The Johannesburg side scored a rather fortuitous 29-28 home win over the Waratahs on Saturday to leapfrog the Stormers, who enjoyed a bye, into fourth place, just three points off the pace.

The Sharks’ 29-23 defeat to the Chiefs earlier in the day was not how they would’ve wanted to end their Australasian tour but the losing bonus point was enough for the Durbanites to regain pole position in the conference following the Bulls’ 45-13 loss to the Crusaders at Loftus on Friday night.

As a result, our Team of the Week is evenly split with seven Lions and seven Sharks, with just a single Bulls player making the cut.

15: Aphelele Fassi (Sharks)

A coming of age of sorts for the rookie. Was potent on attack, where he broke the Chiefs’ line twice, left two defenders in the dust and made 57 metres in 11 carries. Also made a try-saving tackle on Etene Nanai-Seturo.

14: Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions)

I always try to avoid picking players out of their starting position, but snubbing either Dyantyi or Makazole Mapimpi would be an injustice. The Lions wing showed his finishing skills to score early on and was a threat throughout, making two line breaks, side-stepping five defenders and running for 103 metres in 15 carries.

13: Lionel Mapoe (Lions)

While those around him were the sizzle, he was the steak. The best of the backline defenders, making all six of his tackles, and fed support runners with deft touches and offloads.

12: Harold Vorster (Lions)

Rather unlucky to miss out on the Man of the Match award. Created a great try with one of his three clean breaks before toeing a clever grubber through for Kwagga Smith. Beat a South African-high eight defenders in all, executed a backline-high nine tackles and won a turnover.

11: Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks)

Showed he’s more than just a lethal weapon on attack with a crucial turnover inside the Sharks’ 22, and was controversially penalised for what seemed like a second textbook turnover late in the game. Outstanding overall.

10: Curwin Bosch (Sharks) - Player of the Week

Curwin Bosch kick - Waratahs v Sharks Super Rugby 2019

Continued to put his hand up for a Springbok recall. The fire starter for the Sharks at flyhalf, where he caused all sorts of problems on attack – running for a South African-high 117 metres whilst making three clean breaks and beating five defenders. He was also flawless off the tee, scoring 13 points. Received high praise from the New Zealand commentators and is our Player of the Week.

9: Louis Schreuder (Sharks)

Deserves a lot of credit for his pinpoint box kicks, which formed a key part of the Sharks’ game plan and resulted in their opening try. Andre Warner can also be pleased with his performance against the Crusaders.

8: Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Was a one-man army for the most part. Halted the Crusaders’ early momentum, first with a lineout steal and then with a breakdown penalty, both in the red zone. Snatched a remarkable six turnovers in total.

7: Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks)

The rocket that fuelled the Sharks’ forward momentum, he was once again his team’s go-to ball carrier and was busy on defence as well, making 10 tackles.

6: Kwagga Smith (Lions)

Did very well to collect Vorster’s grubber for his try, made a few key turnovers, including the one that sparked the Lions’ try shortly after half-time and somehow managed to hoist Adam Ashley-Cooper in the air while in possession of the ball.

5: Ruan Botha (Sharks)

A sensational second-row showing, which included a try from one of his eight strong carries and a whopping 15 tackles. RG Snyman was one of the Bulls’ better players but missed five tackles.

4: Stephan Lewies (Lions)

Finally produced the performance the Lions expected from him when they snapped him up from the Sharks at the end of last year. Had the most gainline success of the Lions forwards, got his first five-pointer for the Johannesburg franchise, won a turnover and made eight hits.

3: Coenie Oosthuizen (Sharks)

A difficult decision with no clear standout. The Crusaders’ quick scrum tactic took the punch out of Trevor Nyakane and company at the set-piece, while the Lions lost Carlu Sadie early. Nyakane’s workrate wasn’t bad, but not as good as Oosthuizen’s, who made eight carries, seven tackles, managed a turnover and held his own in the scrums.

2: Malcolm Marx (Lions)

Didn’t quite have the pace of Vermeulen to run in an intercept try, but was a behemoth with ball-in-hand, making 17 carries, three line breaks and 84 metres. Also made an excellent offload to Tyrone Green and a few big hits to bag the Man of the Match award.

1: Dylan Smith (Lions)

Made a massive impact off the bench, winning crucial scrum penalties in the tense, dying moments of the match and emptied the gas tank across the park.

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