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Highlighting the best South African players of Round 4 of Super Rugby.

Wandisile Simelane try Lions v Jaguares Super Rugby 2019

10 March 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld


Highveld sides led the South African surge in Round Four of Super Rugby on Saturday.

An injection of youthful exuberance inspired the Lions to a stress-relieving win over the Jaguares in Johannesburg while just further afield, the Bulls trampled the Sharks in a lopsided top-of-the-conference clash in Pretoria.

It should come as no surprise then, that the Team of the Week has a distinct red and blue look.

Tactically superb. His important role in the Bulls’ tactical game plan shouldn’t be overlooked. He drove the Sharks back with his left boot, executed a couple of attacking grubbers at the right time and pulled out a David Campese-esque goose step to put Rosko Specman in for a try.

In a world where wings are expected to thrill, the Bulls veteran showed just how impactful doing the basics well can be. Young players can take notes on how to chase high balls from Hendricks, most notably his tackle-turnover on a smothered Rhyno Smith. Coolly set Jesse Kriel away for a try and almost dotted down himself. Inspirational stuff, as Handré Pollard stated in his post-match interview.

The 2018 Junior Springbok Player of the Year announced himself on the Super Rugby stage in spectacular fashion. Penetrated the Jaguares defence like a machine gun with his speed, fancy footwork and excellent ball skills. Sparked a try with a brilliant basketball-like pass, grabbed one himself and bagged the Man of the Match award in his first start. That he did all this after a nightmare first touch showed he has the temperament to match his exciting skillset.

Very rarely does a replacement outshine starters when it comes to selecting a Team of the Week, but that’s how big of an impact the big Sharks centre made when he came on in the second half. He galvanised those around him by providing go-forward possession and finished with nine carries, the most by a Sharks backline player on the day. A true super sub showing.

A toss-up between Specman and Courtnall Skosan, who were both busy and bagged a brace a piece. Specman edges it as he brought an extra dimension to the Bulls, while Skosan was one of several strike runners in the Emirates Airline Park try-fest.

A vintage outing by the veteran flyhalf who showed once again what an attacking maestro he is with front foot ball. Became just the fifth player to score 1000 Super Rugby points in style, scoring and creating tries and slotting conversions left, right and centre. Handré Pollard it must be said, had another outstanding game.

Ideal performance in his first start of the season. A result of healthy competition between two Boks fighting for the No. 9 jersey. Van Zyl’s box kicking was pinpoint, his cover defence exemplary and his distribution crisp.

All three No. 8s were in great form. Kwagga Smith was like a lightning bolt and Duane Vermeulen a bulldozer. Du Preez, however, was both in a losing cause. An unrivalled 16 carries highlight his workrate and earned him a try. His never-say-die attitude, while his teammates looked lethargic, is what tipped the scales in his favour.

One of the cubs that breathed new life into the Lions, the 20-year-old took to Super Rugby like a duck to water. Was exciting with ball in hand – showcasing his speed in a breakaway run – and didn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities.

Was all over the park, winning turnovers on the deck, popped a brilliant ball to Jantjies to create an opening for the flyhalf to score and scored his fourth try of the season.

Impressive outing in an unfamiliar role by the regular No. 8. The former Baby Bok skipper fronted up well without sacrificing his usual loose forward output.

The one-cap Bok reminded what he has to offer with a physical, workmanlike performance. Lions try-scorer Rhyno Herbst may have been more noticeable, but Jenkins did the donkey work for the Bulls, especially on defence where he contributed with nine tackles.

His power scrummaging is similar to a car crash – devastating yet hard to look away. The Lions absolutely destroyed the Jaguares at scrum time, which will be a particularly bitter pill to swallow for a side who take great pride in their performance in this set piece.

If not for the grey hair, one would never have thought he’s 37. He churned out another energetic effort on attack and defence, was spot-on with his lineout throwing and was rewarded with the Man of the Match award.

More of the same from the Lions loosehead – superb scrummaging and mobile around the paddock.

Vote for your Super Rugby player of the week in the poll above.

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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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