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SUPER RUGBY SA TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 7

Highlighting the best South African players of Round 7 of Super Rugby.

Super Rugby Betting

31 March 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld

SUPER RUGBY SA TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 7

Round Seven of Super Rugby was one South African supporters would like to forget.

The Bulls beat the Sharks 19-16 in a brutal derby – for the players and spectators – in Durban on Saturday, while the Stormers’ six-year winless run in New Zealand continued as they went down 24-9 to the Blues in Auckland earlier in the day. The Jaguares, like the Sharks, were consigned to a narrow home loss in the final match of the weekend, with the Chiefs coming away from Buenos Aires with a 30-27 victory.

The Lions, who had their feet up on their bye, would be thrilled with these results as a Sharks win would’ve seen them surrender their place atop the South African Conference. Instead, they remain at the summit on 18 points, one ahead of the second-placed Bulls, with the Sharks (16), Stormers (14) and Jaguares (10) losing further ground.

Stamped his authority on the game on attack (making 108 metres in 21 carries) and defence. Made a brilliant back-tracking tackle on a flying Melani Nanai and immediately jumped back onto his feet to secure a pressure-relieving turnover, and an excellent exit kick showed he’s more than just an x-factor player.

Despite having little room to work with, he still made the most of his starting opportunity. The Sharks stalwart’s acceleration allowed him to gain ground in heavy traffic and he also stabbed through a good tactical kick or two.

Shaded his rival for the Bok No. 13 jersey with his attacking vision. His play-making prowess and subtle skills to create openings for those around him earned Am the Man of the Match award and are what makes him equal parts refreshingly unique and effective in a position full of predictable runners.

His direct opponent Burger Odendaal made the highlights package by steam-rolling Robert du Preez, but it was the big Sharks centre who was the bigger, more bruising and consistent threat, especially in the second half, and was rewarded with a hard-earned try.

Refusing to watch the game pass him by, Leyds injected himself into the action and was lethal throughout, racking up 71 running metres. Also put his body on the line, taking a hard fall while contesting the ball in the air.

The Bulls captain’s accurate goal-kicking proved to be the difference between the sides at Kings Park. He also made a try-saving tackle on Am. Overall, it was a forgettable round for South African flyhalves.

All three starters were solid if not spectacular, missing an opportunity to set themselves apart. They all had their moments, but the Sharks skipper had the tactically superior showing overall.

Sent a strong message to Bok coach Rassie Erasmus with a show de force that had it all. He smashed over the gainline time and time again, made big hits, scored a try (would’ve had a double if not for a suspect TMO decision) and most of all, played with unparalleled passion and hunger.

Like the flyhalves, the blindside flankers were underwhelming at the weekend. Liebenberg was the most consistent of the three starting No. 7s across the board and made the least mistakes.

Made his presence known with a bustling all-round performance. Broke the line twice and threw a crafty cut out pass for fellow loosie Du Preez to go over in the corner.

Quietly went about doing the hard work, which included the Bulls second rower softening up the Sharks with 12 tackles.

Was hailed as a warrior by the New Zealand commentary team and was exactly that. Colossal across the field, his high workrate saw him make some try-saving tackles and win a restart on the Stormers’ kick-off.

The charismatic colossus is hitting some good form. His main mission was to win the scrum battle, and he got the job done.

Particularly impressive with ball-in-hand, making a number of barn-storming breaks, and was busy on defence as well. The fist fight between Akker van der Merwe and Schalk Brits undid the positive contributions they had made prior to the dustup.

An inspired performance by the legendary loosehead on his record-equalling 156th Super Rugby game. Set off on some storming runs in what was a strong showing with ball-in-hand and did his defensive duties well.


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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 SARugby.com and senior staff writer at Rugby365.com, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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