25 February 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld
SUPER RUGBY SA TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 2
A week is a long time in the world of rugby, a cliché that rang true for South African sides in the second round of Super Rugby.
The Sharks were the flag bearers in what was a weekend South African rugby lovers would want to forget, and this is reflected in our Team of the Week.
The Sharks rookie looks comfortable at Super Rugby level. Showed his finishing skills when he dotted down his team’s opening try despite having two defenders on him, broke the Blues’ line twice and had a high work rate.
Ruan Combrinck brought good tactical kicking off both feet, but Hendricks justified his selection and could be well pleased with his comeback after a serious heart ailment threatened to end his career. Made good metres on attack and a try-saving tackle on Matías Moroni.
A second successive blinder by Am, whose two telling clean breaks added to his play-making prowess that was once again on full display. The Springbok centre’s perfectly weighted grubber sparked the try of the weekend, he kept play alive with slick offloads and highlighted a strong defensive display with an important scrambling hit on Melani Nanai after the Blues fullback had collected Sonny Bill Williams’ crosskick.
A relentless battering ram whose attacking assault included steamrolling an unfortunate Elton Jantjies twice, and he used his size and power to counter-ruck and win two penalties.
The magic man of the week produced the highlight of Round Two with some serious soccer skills to keep the ball in touch, and a cool head to re-gather and offload to Fassi to finish off a fantastic try. Dangerous all day and walked away with the Man of the Match award.
Picked up where he left off last week with another complete performance. Kept the Blues defence in two minds with his willingness to take the ball to the line and was rewarded with a well-finished try.
While Sharks skipper Louis Schreuder was solid, Groom delivered the most determined and energetic effort of the South African scrumhalves. Was a menace around the fringes – nearly scoring on one occasion – and was particularly good tracking and fielding high balls.
Back-to-back big games by the Sharks No 8, who showcased his full range of skills. Was the Durban side’s top ball-carrying forward and executed 11 tackles, topped only by fellow loose forward Tyler Paul’s 14.
The Lions livewire was the star of the Newlands nightmare. His acceleration and leg drive to power over for the opening try summed up his passionate performance, which included rabid runs, tackles and two turnovers.
The Sharks being blown out of the water at the breakdown hurt both their flanks’ chances, while last week’s hat-trick hero Marnus Schoeman and Ruan Steenkamp conceded a string of penalties for the Lions and Bulls respectively. Kolisi, conversely, was more calculated and led his team in carries and tackles (12 each).
Bulls captain Lood de Jager looked good before he limped off around the 50-minute mark. Botha, meanwhile, was a constant contributor and did the hard yards for the Sharks.
Speaking of hard-working second rowers – Orie outshone all. The Lions lock showed impressive lungs for a big man as he made an unrivalled 13 tackles to go with a towering lineout performance that included a steal.
Relatively unknown three weeks ago, the big unit kept on trucking with a second beastly scrummaging showcase in a row, ironically against his former franchise.
The toughest choice of the week as any of Marx, Akker van der Merwe or Schalk Brits could’ve justifiably cracked the nod. In the context of the contrasting contests the Bok hookers found themselves in, Marx was the most clutch, while also delivering in all departments. The former SA Player of the Year is a man for big moments, and should’ve been the Lions’ late hero when he made a clutch turnover that went uncalled by the officials.
While he appeared dominant as part of the powerful Lions scrum, Dylan Smith won as many penalties as he lost. Gqoboka had another good outing, highlighted by two particularly powerful pushes that yielded penalties for the Bulls.
? Who was your SA #SuperRugby Player of the Week?
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