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Currie Cup Team of the Week – Round 1

Making up our Currie Cup Team of the Week are eight Pumas, four Cheetahs, two Sharks, and one Western Province standout.

Currie Cup Team Week

Purring Pumas dominate our Currie Cup Team of the Week, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

The Cheetahs made a strong opening statement to kick off the tournament as they thumped last year’s losing finalists Griquas 42-19 in Kimberley on Friday. 

The Sharks on Saturday scored a 32-16 victory over the newly-promoted Griffons in Durban before Western Province came away from Johannesburg with an emphatic 44-28 win over the Lions. 

Finally, the Sunday showcase saw the defending champion Pumas lay down the gauntlet with a record 63-15 humiliation of the Bulls in Pretoria.

Making up our maiden side are eight Pumas, four Cheetahs, two Sharks, and one Western Province standout.

15: Devon Williams (Pumas)

Punished the Bulls with his left boot. Started his afternoon with a monster 50:22 from inside his 22 and finished off an early contender for try of the tournament. 

14: Sebastian de Klerk (Pumas)

More than a handful. Showed his speed to canter in from turnover ball and set Andre Fouche’s fantastic try in motion with his silky feet and hands. 

13: Diego Appollis (Pumas)

The perfect link man. Had a hand in three tries – Jade Stighling’s great first five-pointer, Sebastian de Klerk’s score and Williams’ try of the weekend. Rewarded with a second-half brace. 

12: Frans Steyn (Cheetahs)

His massive boot was invaluable in the Kimberley heat, launching 50m missiles to pin Griquas in their 22 and allowing his forwards to convert driving mauls into tries with his accuracy and the extra distance he got. Won a crucial early turnover in his 22 and sat down Janco Venter with one of his strong carries.

11: Jade Stighling (Pumas)

A predatory finisher against the union he played several seasons for. Rounded off a superb try and constantly asked questions of the leaky Bulls defence.

10: Tinus de Beer (Pumas) – Player of the Week

The general of the historic Loftus Versfeld humiliation. Phenomenal on attack and defence and good off the tee, kicking 14 points. Let the hounds loose with great distribution, made a try-saving tackle and won two turnovers, the first of which saw him execute a 50:22 and the second sparked De Klerk’s try. A legendary Man of the Match performance.

9: Ruan Pienaar (Cheetahs)

Instrumental with his educated boot on his 39th birthday. From his game-management to consistently clearing the halfway line on exits to his accurate goal-kicking, slotting 7/8 for 17 points. Also put Daniel Kasende in for a try with a long pass. 

8: Jeandre Rudolph (Cheetahs)

A pest at the breakdown, both competing for the ball and with his relentless counter-rucking, and got onto the scoresheet.

7: Friedle Olivier (Cheetahs)

Peerless as a prominent ball carrier in the Central derby. Displayed power and agility, running hard lines, both broke and spun out of tackles and scored the bonus-point try while he was also a banker option in the lineout.

6: Marcel Theunissen (Western Province)

Strong and industrious. Beat one to score, forced a maul turnover on his 5m line and was good from the back of the scrum, where he packed down on attack. 

5: Shane Kirkwood (Pumas)

An excellent way to establish himself as the new Pumas captain. A lineout general, including calling a pre-planned move for the opening try and worked hard across the field, which saw him have a hand in Fouche’s try.

4: Thembelani Bholi (Sharks)

A dominator. Got over the advantage line at will, cleaned and counter-rucked exceptionally well and muscled a maul turnover. 

3: Njabulo Gumede (Pumas)

A scrummaging powerhouse in pink. Won three penalties in the set piece, the first seeing the Pumas draw first blood, the second getting them out of their half and the third resulting in a try. 

2: Fez Mbatha (Sharks)

Spot on with his lineout throwing, part of a dominant scrum and scored two tries in a top-class 72-minute performance that earned him the Man of the Match award.

1: Corne Fourie (Pumas)

Helped lay the foundation for the Pumas’ onslaught and got through a hefty amount of work in open play. 

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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