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SA United Rugby Championship Team of the Week

Diminutive Lions dynamo Sanele Nohamba stands tall in our South African United Rugby Championship Team of the Week.

Emirates Lions' Sanele Nohamba

Diminutive Lions dynamo Sanele Nohamba stands tall in our South African United Rugby Championship Team of the Week, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Saturday’s local derbies were thrilling affairs as the 13-man Stormers held on to secure a 29-23 win over the Sharks in Cape Town before the Lions stunned the Bulls 29-25 in Pretoria.

As a result, the Stormers clinched the South African Shield for the second successive year and have seven players in our side, while the Lions and Bulls each contributed four players to our line-up.

15: Clayton Blommetjies (Stormers)

Had a field day to secure the Man of the Match award. Worth 15 points for his team, running a great line and popping an offload to put Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu over, ran another great angle to score himself and doubled up in the second half. Should’ve had another try assist but Suleiman Hartzenberg couldn’t hold onto his chip.

14: Sibongile Novuka (Bulls)

The Bulls debutant grew in confidence after a nervous start and produced a ridiculous bit of soccer skills to create a try for Wandisile Simelane.

13: Cornal Hendricks (Bulls)

The evergreen Bulls ace is still going strong. His busy, bruising evening included a try assist for Sbu Nkosi and a telling cover tackle on Quan Horn.

12: Sacha Feinburg-Mngomezulu (Stormers)

Seized the day as a late replacement for Dan du Plessis. Scored the opening try and led the Stormers in successful carries (5), clean breaks (2), and turnovers (3).


11: Edwill van der Merwe (Lions)

A little livewire. Pure pace to burn Embrose Papier for his try and otherwise elusive with his fancy footwork.

10: Manie Libbok (Stormers)

Pulled the strings with aplomb. Fired bullets to his backline like the ball he put Blommetjies in with and utilised the crosskick expertly all afternoon, including for his No 15’s second try. Also kicked well at goal and out of hand.

9: Sanele Nohamba (Lions) – Player Of The Week

A match-winning Man of the Match performance. Kept the scoreboard ticking over with his unerring boot and caught the Bulls napping with a quick tap to canter in during the first half. Milked a penalty to kick the Lions back into the lead in the 66th minute and finished with 24 points.

8: Elrigh Louw (Bulls)

Dominated physical exchanges. Barrelled through three Lions on one occasion, kept the momentum going with skillful offloads, and was a safe pair of hands at the back of the lineout from where the Bulls mauled over to hit the front.

7: Ben-Jason Dixon (Stormers)

Workmanlike and opportunistic. Scored an intercept try and put in some big hits.

6: Emmanuel Tshituka (Lions)

Deon Fourie and Marco van Staden were both outstanding at the breakdown but no one outworked Tshituka, who was especially tireless on defence, making no less than 17 tackles to help the Lions hold on.

5: Ruben Schoeman (Lions)

Warren Brosnihan gave him the apt nickname “Never Stop Going” on commentary. Made his presence felt in every aspect of the game. His highlights included winning a turnover on the ground on his 5m line in the first half and securing a vital maul turnover near his try line with six minutes to go. 

4: Ernst van Rhyn (Stormers)

Did a great job disrupting the Sharks’ lineout. Got up to force an early turnover and pulled off a clutch steal on his 22m line.

3: Neethling Fouche (Stormers)

Feasted as part of a dominant Stormers scrum. Won four penalties in his specialist set piece in the first half and two more after the break. Gave glimpses of his soft hands on attack too. 

2: Johan Grobbelaar (Bulls)

At his all-around best. Flawless with his lineout throwing, a tackling terminator (14 hits), won a textbook jackal penalty in the 50th minute, and scored the Bulls’ bonus-point try. 

1: Ali Vermaak (Stormers)

Completely worked over Hanro Jacobs in the scrums and put in solid work across the park in a top-class 53-minute performance.

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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