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Highlighting the best South African players of Round 5 of Super Rugby.

18 March 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld


With only the Stormers and Lions in action in Round Five of Super Rugby, it was a straight shootout for places in our South African Team of the Week.

It proved to be a good weekend for the South African sides, with the Stormers scoring a dominant 35-8 win over the Jaguares in Cape Town on Friday night and the Lions coming back from the dead to snatch a thrilling 36-33 victory in Johannesburg on Saturday.

You’d never think it was his debut. Full of confident running from the back, threatening the line every time, and it was his grubber at pace that saw Lionel Mapoe dot down under Quade Cooper’s nose.

Talk about a super sub! He carved up the Rebels and kept the ball alive to bag the Man of the Match award. While he mostly operated at fullback, with Green shifting to the wing, he technically replaced Ruan Combrinck.

Not nearly as assured of a performance as that of last week, but the positives – especially on attack – far outweighed the negatives.

Prolific power and agility on attack, mixed things up with a clever tactical kick, made some big hits and took on the added responsibility of securing the restarts.

Caused all sorts of problems with ball in hand. Made three clean breaks and got onto the scoresheet.

Not the best performance by any means, but made some key contributions, like great line kicks to set up attacking lineouts deep inside the Rebels’ 22, pinpoint crosskicks and accurate goal-kicking.

The toughest call of the week as young Herschel Jantjies had a really good showing. Cronje was the cool, calm and collected veteran to the Stormers’ lively rookie and had a greater impact on the outcome of his game.

His Blitzbok background was on full display. Electric in loose play, where he set off on a few scintillating long runs.

Arguably the fittest player in world rugby, he looked superhuman against the Argentinians, finishing the night with an unrivalled 18 tackles.

The form South African player of the tournament turned in another world-class performance. The Cape side’s captain fantastic led the way on attack and defence, won a turnover and peeled off from a driving maul at the perfect time to power over for a try. Earned the Man of the Match honours and stands tall as our Player of the Week.

The least experienced member of the Bok-laden pack showed once again that he’s already a key cog in the machine. Exceptional workrate, dominated in contact and made a phenomenal 13 hard hits.

The patented physicality was there as always, but did his best work in the lineouts, where his athleticism and timing affected a number of turnovers on the Jaguares’ throw. Also provided sweeping cover to save a likely try before going off due to a head knock.

While Carlu Sadie had another strong game for the men from Johannesburg, Malherbe showed his Bok class as scrum destroyer-in-chief and was good in the tight loose.

Excellent in all aspects of the game. Good wherewithal to call an audible and go for a quick one-two at the front of the lineout to score the Lions’ opening try and a crucial turnover on the deck were among his highlights.

A prime example of the world-class impact he makes as a starter. So agile around the park, soft touches mixed in with hard charges (seven in all), eight tackles and strong scrummaging.

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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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