All-action JC Pretorius leads an influx of Lions players into our Currie Cup Team of the Week, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.
The Cheetahs on Friday night returned to the top of the log with a 33-10 win over the Griffons in a rain-delayed game in Bloemfontein after the Lions had done them a favour by felling the Pumas 26-10 at a wet Ellis Park in the earlier encounter.
On Saturday, the Sharks claimed a 24-6 victory over Griquas in Durban while Western Province battered the Bulls 31-7 at Newlands.
Because the Free State derby wasn’t televised, we were unable to select Cheetahs and Griffons players. There are six Lions in our side, three Sharks, a trio of Western Province players, a pair of Griquas standouts and a lone Bulls ace.
15: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls)
A busy and bruising evening for the Bulls livewire who threatened every time he touched the ball and showed his toughness to soldier on after being involved in a couple of nasty collisions.
14: Yaw Penxe (Sharks)
A prime example for young wingers, Penxe showed how intensity and desire can allow you to make an impact despite having little room. Also chased extremely well and made the tackle of the weekend on Eddie Fouche, nearly smashing him out of his boots.
13: Manuel Rass (Lions)
Strong on both sides of the ball. Troubled the Pumas with his fast feet and ferocious tackle fight, scored a double and was dominant on defence, driving opposite number Stefan Coetzee back five metres on one occasion.
12: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Western Province)
Showed off his well-rounded skillset. Scored the opening try of the North-South derby, made slick breaks and offloads and was perfect off the tee to finish with 16 points.
11: Marnus Potgieter (Sharks)
It was an unusually quiet round from the left-wingers with little to write home about. Despite limited opportunities, Potgieter did bring something different to the table, that being explosive power, and he made one good break.
10: Jean-Luc du Plessis (Western Province)
Western Province’s captain pulled the strings with good distribution and his educated left boot. Varied his kicking game very effectively, finding grass at the back, solid touch and threatening with crosskicks and dangerous dinks.
9: Morne van den Berg (Lions)
A sniper of note. Sparked the Lions’ first try with a show and go, sold another dummy to score their second and touched down their third. Got good distance with his clearance kicks and brilliantly held up PJ Jacobs over the try line. Yellow card for a trip took some of the gloss off an impressive performance.
8: Francke Horn (Lions)
Another one of the Lions’ United Rugby Championship players whose class shone through. Great pick and go to create Van den Berg’s second try, made a surging break, snatched two turnovers in his 22 and produced two lineout steals.
7: Hanru Sirgel (Griquas)
Griquas’ skipper gave it his all in a losing effort. Was absolutely everywhere, making leg-driving carries and hard hits and was a key source of lineout ball. His leadership ability also came to the fore as his challenge of the referee led to a Sharks’ try being overturned.
6: JC Pretorius (Lions) – Player of the Week
The former Blitzbok’s all-action outing showed what promise his move to the 15-man game has. Kwagga Smith-like as he feasted at the breakdown, made 18 tackles, ran rampant and put Rass over for his first try to earn the Man of the Match award.
5: Darrien Landsberg (Lions)
A thorn in the side of his former team. Tore the Pumas’ lineout apart, reading them like a book and getting up to disrupt and deliver two steals. Made a team-high nine carries and added 13 tackles.
4: Dylan de Leeuw (Western Province)
Put himself on the map with a splendid Man of the Match performance. Scored a sensational solo try in which he beat three defenders (time-stamped below), made another surging break before halftime and was good in the lineout, including poaching a Bulls ball.
3: Janu Botha (Griquas)
The chef cooked up a tasty all-around display. His work rate was phenomenal, the burly front-rower making 10 carries and 16 tackles, and his scrummaging was A-grade.
2: Kerron van Vuuren (Sharks)
Mr Consistency. Grabbed himself a try, pumped his legs to make good extra metres in contact and won two turnovers, the first through excellent counter-rucking and the second a textbook jackal in his 22.
1: Rynhardt Rijnsburger (Lions)
Much like Botha, the Lions loosehead’s work rate was mightily impressive. Exceptionally mobile for a big man, he bashed over the gain line with most of his seven carries and made 15 tackles.