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The best South African players from the opening round.

Bulls Super Rugby 2019

18 February 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld


South African sides got the Super Rugby season off to a strong start with the Sharks, Bulls and Lions all picking up impressive wins.

The Sharks ran out comfortable 45-10 winners over the Sunwolves in Singapore, the Bulls made an emphatic statement as they smashed the Stormers 40-3 at Loftus and the Lions ended their Buenos Aires hoodoo with a deserved 25-16 win over the Jaguares.

Reminded Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus of a lesser-seen tactical side of his game as he pinned the Stormers deep inside their own territory with his left boot.

The Sharks flyer beat a number of overmatched Sunwolves defenders with his lethal mix of power and pace and worked hard off the ball.

A close call between him and Jesse Kriel as both Bok centres were outstanding. Both were solid with ball-in-hand and strong on defence, but Am edges it thank to two terrifically timed and executed touches that put both of his wings in for tries.

Nothing flashy but got the Lions over the advantage line with straight, hard running and made all his tackles. Sharks centre André Esterhuizen was also solid, but conceded three turnovers.

The Blitzbok veteran announced his arrival on the Super Rugby stage by setting Loftus alight with two scintillating scores. Left Dilyn Leyds for dead with a step off the left foot for his first Super Rugby try and danced through the bamboozled Stormers defence for his second minutes later.

The Bulls’ Springbok pivot put on a masterclass, oozing class and calm generalship. Read the game extremely well, with spot-on tactical kicking and a deft chip over the advancing Stormers’ line for Kriel to collect out of the air and score. A perfect eight from eight off the tee to boot makes him the Player of the Week.

Mature is the best way to sum up Schreuder’s performance. He seems to relish the captaincy role. Was tactically astute, and accurate and crisp with his distribution.

Ideal first outing for his new franchise. Solid as a rock fielding restarts, barged through a number of defenders with his strong ball-carrying and good in the lineouts.

There was no clear standout blindside flank in Round One. Pieter-Steph du Toit toiled hard in a losing cause but slipped a few tackles. Paul was the most consistent, taking the ball up seven times and making all eight of his tackles.

The hat-trick hero had a game to savour, not only because of his tries but also due to his work around the park and at the breakdown.

A true captain’s effort, De Jager led by example, especially on defence. Stood tall in the lineouts, where he was a safe option and stole some balls on the Stormers’ throw, and threw in a few offloads on attack.

The lanky lock’s workrate was exceptional – eight carries and no less than 14 tackles. Exemplary in the lineouts as well.

The former Baby Bok, on loan from the Stormers, made a powerful statement at scrum time, bulldozing the revered Jaguares front row, while he won a few turnovers as well.

Clearly motivated after being omitted from the Bok squad for the end-of-year tour, the Angry Warthog stormed out of the gate with a vintage performance that included two tries and accurate line-out throwing.

Bulls brute Lizo Gqoboka looked good against the Stormers’ Bok tighthead Wilco Louw, but Smith cracks the nod for his role in the dominant Lions scrum and try-saving tackle.

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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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