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SA European Champions Cup Team of the Week – Round 1

Young guns like Cameron Hanekom and Jurie Matthee put themselves on the map in the opening round of the European Champions Cup at the weekend, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.


Young guns like Cameron Hanekom and Jurie Matthee put themselves on the map in the opening round of the European Champions Cup at the weekend, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

The Bulls laid down a marker with a 27-16 win over three-time champions Saracens at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday while an understrength Stormers side took the Leicester Tigers to the limit but ultimately succumbed 35-26 at Welford Road.

As a result, our South African Team of the Week consist of 10 Bulls and five Stormers.

15: Willie le Roux (Bulls)

Wily and world-class. Such a visionary, calm at the back when fielding kicks and produced magical touches, both at the back and as first receiver.

14: Canan Moodie (Bulls)

Showcased his supreme athleticism in the air and in open play. Surging run to start, excellent aerial contest created Stedman Gans’ near-try, cracking counter-attack moments later and composed to finish off after being ankle-tapped.

13: Stedman Gans (Bulls)

Playing with such confidence and an extra spring in his step. For a smaller man, he’s extremely strong with ball in hand. Good long grubber into touch from a scrum move and had a try disallowed for a foot in touch.

12: David Kriel (Bulls)

Continued his scintillating form. Dangerous dink, soft ball to free up Moodie and scored a try all inside the opening five minutes. One of the main link men in the sweeping Bulls attack and made two crucial tackles.

11: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls)

Such a slippery customer and a counter-attacking phenom. Cut Saracens to shreds with his hot-stepping and speed, making an unrivalled 113 metres, and set up Moodie for his try in electrifying fashion.

10: Jurie Matthee (Stormers)

Take a bow, young man. The composure of the 23-year-old on debut at the intimidating Welford Road, going head-to-head with double World Cup-winning Springbok general Handre Pollard, was astonishing. Did the basics very well, slotted all five of his kicks at goal and coolly nailed a drop goal for a personal tally of 16 points.

9: Paul de Wet (Stormers)

Caused Freddie Steward all sorts of problems with his accurate box kicking and sparked one of the best opportunistic tries you’ll see with a stab-through and superb offload off the ground for Courtnall Skosan to score, which gave the Stormers the lead at halftime.

8: Cameron Hanekom (Bulls) – Player of the Week

A huge game from the blue-chipper. Made the first break of the match, created a try-scoring opportunity with a beautiful offload to Arendse after having pumped the legs for some post-contact metres, dominant on defence, carrying back Nick Tompkins on one occasion, and won a late jackal to come away with the Man of the Match award.

7: Elrigh Louw (Bulls)

Some players are buoyed and others are burdened by captaincy. Louw seemingly falls into the first category as he produced a second inspired performance in as many weeks, which included a pack-high 55 metres. Unlucky to have his try disallowed.

6: Nama Xaba (Stormers)

Full of fire and on the frontline defensively. Probing ball carrier, a menace at the breakdown and forced a turnover on Jasper Wiese on the 5m line.

5: Reinhardt Ludwig (Bulls)

The young second-rower put in the hard yardsand was a tower of strength in the lineout. Produced a clutch steal in the set piece in his 22 in the 69th minute.

4: Hendre Stassen (Stormers)

Threw his body all over the park, bringing the energy, physicality and mongrel the Stormers needed. Made two big hits on Wiese, stole a Leicester lineout and almost scored a try.

3: Brok Harris (Stormers)

A statement first scrum by the Stormers captain set the tone in the set piece, soft hands and busy on defence, including flinging himself into taking down Steward.

2: Akker van der Merwe (Bulls)

Ever-energetic and abrasive. Featured prominently in the tight loose, where he used his low centre of gravity to his advantage, and good in the set pieces.

1: Gerhard Steenekamp (Bulls)

Got the better of Alec Clarey at scrum time.Earned the Bulls their first three points at the set piece and put in a massive shove in the 45th minute. Made some good carries as well.

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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