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Currie Cup Team of the Week – Round 11

Our Currie Cup Team of the Week sparkles with “Specmagic,” writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Our Currie Cup Team of the Week sparkles with “Specmagic,” writes Quintin van Jaarsveld. 

It was a proper Friday the 13th for the Pumas, who were forced into late changes and endured a frustrating night that culminated in a costly 23-17 loss to Western Province in Nelspruit.

The returning Rosko Specman stole the show in the first of Saturday’s two fixtures, the former Blitzbok leaving the Sharks spellbound and setting up a 44-15 bonus-point win in Bloemfontein as the Cheetahs made it nine from nine and clinched a home semi-final.    

The Bulls also secured home ground advantage in the semi-finals following an 80-point thriller in Pretoria that saw the defending champions pip the Lions 43-37.

Specman is one of seven Cheetahs who cracked the nod, five players who featured in the pulsating Jukskei derby had their names called, as did a pair of Western Province players and a Sharks star.

15: Cohen Jasper (Cheetahs)

Good touches, broke tackles and crossed the whitewash. Top-notch positional play and dependable on defence. Devon Williams was influential as well, pulling off a stunning 50:22 that led to the Pumas’ first try and was dangerous on the counter-attack.

14: David Kriel (Bulls)

Played a key role in the Bulls’ triumph. Scored a try, stabbed a classy grubber through for Stedman Gans to collect and score, made a try-saving tandem tackle with Bernard van der Linde and an excellent line break that led to the match-sealing try.

13: Jeremy Ward (Sharks)

The experienced hand tried his hardest to be the glue of the young Sharks backline. Went above and beyond in his attempt to plug holes around him, making 16 tackles, and made one of his precious few opportunities on attack count to lure the last man and send Cameron Wright over.

12: Marco Jansen van Vuren (Bulls)

Safe to say the versatile Jansen van Vuuren can play anywhere in the backline. Looked like a seasoned centre as he crashed over the gain line and made over 20 tackles to cement himself as the Bulls’ new Mr Do It All.

11: Rosko Specman (Cheetahs)- Player Of The Week

An electrifying return by one of the game’s great entertainers. Cut the Sharks to shreds with his flair and footwork, sparking two of his team’s four first-half tries, looked for work and made a try-saving sweep to defuse a kick into the in-goal area.

10: Siya Masuku (Cheetahs)

It’s no coincidence that the Cheetahs rediscovered their rhythm upon their ace flyhalf’s return. So dangerous as a willing and able runner and distributor. His line break led to the opening try and he slotted both of his kicks at goal.

9: Ruan Pienaar (Cheetahs)

While his younger challengers blew hot and cold, the veteran Cheetahs captain was consistent class. Directed his team well, won a turnover that led to Jasper’s score, was prominent in the bonus-point try as well as he got a brilliant back-handed scoop away and scored nine points off the tee.

8: Mihlali Mosi (Cheetahs)

A great link between the forwards and backs, made a couple of breakaways, strong when he took it into contact and showed impressive pace to beat a sweeping Ward down the touchline for a well-earned try.

7: Ruan Venter (Lions)

That he won the Man of the Match award in a losing effort says it all. A walking weapon, he smashed everything in sight. Had stiff competition in try-scorer Andisa Ntsila and Anele Lungisa, who had a key hand in two of the Pumas’ tries.

6: Nama Xaba (Western Province)

In a class of his own in Nelspruit. A ballhawk extraordinaire, winning three turnovers, two of which were pivotal pressure relievers in his 22. Impressively physical as well, making dominant tackles and giving Alwayno Visagie the ‘don’t argue’ hand-off in a talismanic Man of the Match performance.

5: Victor Sekekete (Cheetahs)

A player who’s going from strength to strength. Untouchable in the lineouts and loose forward-like work rate that earned him a try and the Man of the Match award.

4: Aidon Davis (Cheetahs)

Such a skillful second-rower. Look no further than the fantastic long passes he put Jasper and Mosi in with. Didn’t shy away from the donkey work and shone in the lineout, where he created a try-scoring opportunity with a steal in the 35th minute.

3: Ruan Dreyer (Lions)

A destroyer at scrum time, where he left a branding iron-like mark on the Bulls, winning penalties and blazing a trail to the try line for Francke Horn. Neethling Fouche was strong in the first half and got onto the scoresheet but dropped off drastically after the break.

2: Jacques van Zyl (Western Province)

As clinical as you get. Flawless with his lineout throwing, strong in the scrums, which Province dominated in the first half, and did magnificent work in the maul that can perhaps best be described as intelligent hustle.

1: Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls)

What a warrior. His shut right eye and bloody nose at the post-match interview told the story of what the Currie Cup means to the Bulls. Rumbled over for a try, provided a silky try assist and cleaned out like it was a Test match.

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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