10 June 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld

SUPER RUGBY SA TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 17

Round 17 of Super Rugby saw the Jaguares deservedly claim their maiden South African Conference title with a clinical 34-7 dismantling of the Sharks in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

The Stormers were the only South African side to come away with a win, however, they looked far from convincing and failed to secure an all-important bonus-point in their 31-18 victory over the Sunwolves at Newlands.

The Lions were less fortunate in their home fixture earlier in the day, going down 37-17 to the impressive Hurricanes. The Bulls, meanwhile, kicked off the round on Friday with a passionate performance in Dunedin, where they fought back to draw 24-all with the Highlanders, their second stalemate in New Zealand in as many weeks.

Here’s who caught our eye at the weekend.

15: Andries Coetzee (Lions)

Back in the form that made him a Springbok. His big boot came in very handy, and when he opted to run, he made great yardage (95m), beat the first man on three occasions and offloaded in the tackle. Unfortunate that his try was disallowed. Great on defence as well, making all six of his tackles and winning two turnovers.

14: Craig Barry (Stormers)

The rookie can be more than satisfied with his performance. Stuck in a stale backline, he did all the basics well. Chased Jano Vermaak’s clever kick well, which was the spark that blazed Jaco Coetzee’s trail to the tryline, managed two clean breaks, showed a clean pair of heels to score in the corner and made all six tackles asked of him.

13: Lionel Mapoe (Lions)

The veteran is making a late push for a Bok recall. Was full of running, eluding three tacklers in his 12 surges and ran a great line to take a ball from Elton Jantjies and link up with Aphiwe Dyantyi for the wing’s second try. 

12: Burger Odendaal (Bulls)

The best Bulls player in Dunedin. Strong and dangerous with ball-in-hand, making 39 metres, eight runs, a line break and beating three defenders. His break provided the momentum for Jason Jenkins to go over for a try from close range. Also made a backline-high eight hits and won a turnover.

11: Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions)

Was at his brilliant best. Racked up a South African round-record 111 metres from 11 scorching runs, bagging a brace, making five clean breaks and leaving two defenders in his dust. His chip-and-chase try was a thing of beauty.

10: Handre Pollard (Bulls)

Made a world of difference. Marshalled his troops, kept the Highlanders guessing by making as many as 10 runs and tracked back to mop up kicks into the Bulls’ 22 under pressure.

9: Ross Cronje (Lions)

Played a more probing role as usual which seemed to caught the ‘Canes by surprise as he beat three defenders and made 36 metres from his seven runs. Also chipped in with a breakdown penalty. Special mention must be made of Herschel Jantjies, who played brilliantly before limping off with an injury.

8: Jaco Coetzee (Stormers) – Player of the Week

Like the Lions’ Tyrone Green and Sharks’ Makazole Mapimpi, his passion – perfectly summed by the first of his two tries – saw him stand head and shoulders above the rest at Newlands. Bled for his team, made 72 metres with 10 storming runs and earned two turnovers – the first close to the Stormers’ line early on.

7: Johan du Toit (Stormers)

Emulated brother Pieter-Steph with his outstanding output across the park. Boasts a South African round-record 17 tackles, hit the ball up eight times and won four lineouts.

6: Ruan Steenkamp (Bulls)

Put in a big shift. Completed a team-high 15 tackles, was quick to the breakdown, where he won a turnover and got over the gainline with most of his nine carries.

5: Ruan Botha (Sharks)

In a team lacking passion and desire, he recovered from a hard, scary-looking blow to the head and neck to soldier on. Made all 11 of his tackles as well, but more than anything, it’s the heart he showcased that earned him his place in our team

4: Jason Jenkins (Bulls)

Good workrate and intensity. Made seven tackles, used his body as a battering ram with ball-in-hand and at the rucks and was rewarded with a try.

3: Carlu Sadie (Lions)

Continued to do what he does best – bullying tightheads in the dark arts of scrummaging. Was a prominent ball carrier, too, and got rare opportunities to stretch those tree-trunk legs with two clean breaks.

2: Malcolm Marx (Lions)

A complete performance that showed why many regard him as the world’s best hooker. Complemented brute force, which earned him 62 metres, with great offloads, one of which put Hacjivah Dayimani in for a try. Also made an unrivalled 14 tackles and completed a turnover.

1: Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)

The Stormers skipper got through a great deal of work in his 53 minutes on the field, especially on defence. Made nine tackles and a turnover, which halted a multi-phase attack. Also popped an impressive offload after being taken to the ground early on.

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