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European Champions Cup

SA European Competitions Team Of The Week – Quarter-finals

Siya Masuku starred as the Sharks scored a 36-30 win over Edinburgh at Kings Park on Saturday to become the first South African side to qualify for the European Challenge Cup semi-finals.


Siya Masuku starred as the Sharks scored a 36-30 win over Edinburgh at Kings Park on Saturday to become the first South African side to qualify for the European Challenge Cup semi-finals, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

A dominant second-half display from the Durbanites saw them seal their place in the final four.

Hours later, an understrength Bulls team fired a few shots but were no match for a fully loaded Northampton Saints side, who romped to a 59-22 win at Franklin’s Gardens to send the men from Pretoria crashing out of the European Champions Cup.

Predictably, our South African Team of the Week is packed with Sharks stars, but a few Bulls players did manage to earn places in our line-up.

15: Aphelele Fassi (Sharks)

An attacking threat, including playing a key role in his side’s second try, and made good defensive reads, including a vital tackle on Jamie Ritchie. Great long chase of Makazole Mapimpi’s grubber and good under the high ball.

14: Sebastian de Klerk (Bulls)

Did a solid job of injecting himself into the action. Showed good vision to intercept and run the length of the field to score a try that got the Bulls back into the game before halftime and added a second score after the break.

13: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks)

Central to the Sharks’ cause. Scored the opening try, twisted out of tackles, added deft touches as he’s known to do and even competed at the breakdown.

12: Ethan Hooker (Sharks)

Made some strong surges, including steamrolling Ben Healy on one occasion, and packed a serious punch on defence, making ball carriers pay for choosing to run into his channel. Ripped two good turnovers to boot.

11: Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks)

Classy and creative. Provided a bit of magic as he returned the favour for Am for his try in the 2019 World Cup final with a chip-and-chase set-up, made a backline-best 51 metres while beating three defenders, kicked a dangerous grubber and was commanding in the air.

10: Siya Masuku (Sharks) – Player of the Week

Recovered from a shaky start that saw him fail to find touch from a penalty and miss a sitter to turn in a tremendous effort. The chip that sparked James Venter’s try was the confidence-booster he needed and he was on song at goal from thereon out to finish with a personal tally of 18 points and the Man of the Match award.

9: Grant Williams (Sharks)

Jaden Hendrikse operated at a glacial pace while Zak Burger’s poor box-kicking resulted in two penalties. The Sharks looked like a different side after Williams came on in the second half because of his speed to the ball and distribution.

8: Cameron Hanekom (Bulls)

Saved the day when he held up Alex Mitchell over the try line, strong ripping turnover and powered over moments later, all inside the first 15 minutes. Prominent throughout and dynamic off the base of the scrum.

7: Vincent Tshituka (Sharks)

Stretched his legs with some explosive carries and became more and more prolific as the match progressed. Posted team-high numbers in carries (10) and metres (62) while he also made 10 tackles.

6: Nizaam Carr (Bulls)

Had a solid game in which he was physical and a good link between the forwards and backs, plus he did an admirable job leading a disorganised/thrown-together team.

5: Emile van Heerden (Sharks)

His best performance for the Sharks yet. His big shift featured an unrivalled 15 tackles, a couple of powerful carries, good lineout and maul work and an awe-inspiring take of a restart in the 66th minute.

4: Eben Etzebeth (Sharks)

Brought the fire and ferocity we’ve come to expect from the world-renowned enforcer. Good offload to put Venter in, made strong carries around the corner and a try-saving intervention.

3: Vincent Koch (Sharks)

Helped put Edinburgh under pressure at scrum time and did the hard yards in the gutters.

2: Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks)

Phenomenal physicality. The Shark’s hooker was a smashing machine, his trail of destruction including massive hits on Bill Mata and WP Nel. Was rewarded with a try, which he dotted down in style.

1: Ox Nche (Sharks)

Massive shove in the first scrum to win a penalty and won another early in the second half. Great tackle fight with ball in hand and put in a ton of effort wrestling ball carriers back.

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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