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European Champions Cup

SA European Champions Cup Team Of The Week – Round Of 16

Kurt-Lee Arendse lit up Loftus Versfeld as the Bulls brushed Lyon aside 59-19 to book their place in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals for the first time on Saturday.

European Champions Cup

Kurt-Lee Arendse lit up Loftus Versfeld as the Bulls brushed Lyon aside 59-19 to book their place in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals for the first time on Saturday, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

The Stormers came agonisingly close to knocking out two-time defending champions La Rochelle in a brutal nailbiter in Cape Town, where Manie Libbok missed a last-gasp conversion that saw the visitors emerge with a 22-21 win.

As a result, our South African European Champions Cup Team of the Week is made up of 10 Bulls and five Stormers.

15: Willie le Roux (Bulls)

A master of spatial awareness as highlighted by his try assist for Sebastian de Klerk, scored one himself and was clutch on defence, making two try-saving tackles, one on Thaakir Abrahams and the other on Alfred Parisien.

14: Sebastian de Klerk (Bulls)

The former Pumas player is purring in Pretoria. Scored a try in each half and worked hard across the field.

13: Dan du Plessis (Stormers)

Offered steak and sizzle. Consistently committed more than one defender with his strength and offloaded in contact, while he was excellent on defence.

12: Damian Willemse (Stormers)

A big-name, big-game player who did big-name, big-game things. At the heart of most of the Stormers’ best moments, including his majestic hand in Herschel Jantjies’ try. Made a match-high 109 metres from seven carries.

11: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls) – Player of the Week

Injected himself into the action with aplomb. Alert to create a try for Embrose Papier on transitional play, brilliant counter-attacks sparked two more tries, ran for an unrivalled 118 metres, beat a match-high nine defenders and made a try-saving tackle on Lyon captain Jordan Taufua.

10: Johan Goosen (Bulls)

Played with freedom and thrived because of it. Made a few elusive runs, distributed beautifully and chipped into space. Kicked well out of hand and at goal, slotting 5/6.

9: Embrose Papier (Bulls)

A livewire. Sparked a number of attacks with dangerous darts, scored a brace, was fast and crisp with his service and his exit kicks were good.

8: Elrigh Louw (Bulls)

A powerful workhorse par excellence. Made a match-high 13 carries for 67 metres (the most by a forward) and a dozen tackles, the second most by a Bulls player. 

7: Reinhardt Ludwig (Bulls)

Made a number of dynamic runs in an energetic showing. Inspired by his fellow loose forwards and raised his game to try to reach their level.

6: Marcell Coetzee (Bulls)

Stood out in the physicality department. Broke tackles, made dominant hits and cleaned vigorously. Great support play to be on hand and power his way over for a try and made a telling tackle on Abrahams.

5: Ruben van Heerden (Stormers)

Another colossal performance by arguably the most consistent player in the country this season. His motor continues to amaze as he made an unrivalled 17 tackles. 

4: Ruan Vermaak (Bulls)

Played the enforcer role well. Did a lot of donkey work, barged over from five metres out and applied good pressure in the lineouts.

3: Neethling Fouche (Stormers)

Worked over young Louis Penverne at scrum time, featured in the trenches and cleaned with power and purpose.

2: Johan Grobbelaar (Bulls)

Popped up everywhere with his red scrum cap and was particularly prominent on defence, where he made a team-high 13 hits including a crucial tackle on Monty Ioane. On the money with his lineout throwing.

1: Brok Harris (Stormers)

The veteran had the best of the scrums in the first half and got through a ton of work before he started to run out of gas around the 50-minute mark. Made 13 tackles, second only to Van Heerden, before finally making way in the 70th minute.

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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