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SA United Rugby Championship Team of the Week – Quarter-finals

Johan Goosen spearheads a stampede of Bulls into our South African United Rugby Championship Team of the Week, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

United Rugby Championship

Johan Goosen spearheads a stampede of Bulls into our South African United Rugby Championship Team of the Week, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Mzanzi’s title hopefuls had mixed quarter-final fortunes at the weekend. The Bulls were made to work hard by Benetton but punched their ticket to the semi-finals with a 30-23 win at Loftus Versfeld, while the trip to Glasgow proved a bridge too far for the Stormers, who succumbed 27-10 to the Warriors.

Jake White’s men will meet Leinster, who comfortably beat Ulster 43-20, in the first semi at Loftus Versfeld this Saturday followed by Munster, who ousted the Ospreys with a 23-7 triumph, taking on the Warriors in Limerick.

It should come as no surprise that Bulls stars dominate our Team of the Week, but a trio of Stormers standouts also earned selection.

15: Willie le Roux (Bulls)

Poise personified. His ability to read the game made it look like he had extra time on the ball when that was not always the case and enabled him to weave his magic. Brilliant vision and execution of his chip for Kurt-Lee Arendse to score inside the first 30 seconds, good touches throughout, try-saving tackle on Alessandro Garbisi and solid exit kicks.

14: Suleiman Hartzenberg (Stormers)

Started with a good counter-attack and was the king of the skies, athletically retaining a box kick and a restart.

13: David Kriel (Bulls)

A solid display of both his strength and skill as he mixed hard running with slick offloads and scored a try. Made a thumping tackle on Tomas Albornoz, too.

12: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Stormers)

Such skill and intelligence. Outstanding one-handed offload to put Ben Loader in for the Capetonians’ first try and two great grubbers, the first finding touch in Glasgow’s 22 and the second resulting in a 5m lineout for the Stormers.

11: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls)

A pure predator. Used his speed and grace to pounce on Le Roux’s chip to get the Bulls off to the perfect start and his willingness to look for work earned him his second try. Sad that he was forced off after 30 minutes due to a head knock.

10: Johan Goosen (Bulls) – Player of the Week

Had a hand in both of Arendse’s tries and provided the X-factor when it was needed near the hour-mark to spark a try that gave the Bulls some breathing room for the time being. Almost scored himself, accurate goal-kicking (three penalty goals and three conversions for 15 points) proved crucial and kicked well out of hand to boot.

9: Embrose Papier (Bulls)

Not his best game, to say the least, but made a team-high five successful carries. Ran a good support line and fired a fantastic long scoring pass to Kriel, while Herschel Jantjies had a mare.

8: Cameron Hanekom (Bulls)

A prolific all-pitch performance. Dynamic with ball in hand, including off the back of the scrum, put his body on the line on defence and was exceptional at the breakdown, snatching a turnover and offloading quickly to create a try-scoring opportunity and producing a textbook tackle and jackal combo.

7: Ben-Jason Dixon (Stormers)

Industrious and impactful on both sides of the ball, Dixon made 10 strong carries and 13 tackles, many of them bone-crunchers, which was the last statement he needed to be included in the Springbok squad.

6: Nizaam Carr (Bulls)

Came in for the injured Marco van Staden and put in a massive shift that included a match-high and South African-best 22 tackles. Strong rucking and won a crucial breakdown penalty in the second half.

5: Ruan Nortje (Bulls)

Another hard-working shift by the Bulls captain, whose endless endeavour was highlighted when he sealed the win with a great diving take of a dangerous dink with two minutes left to go.

4: Ruan Vermaak (Bulls)

Good power and physicality in everything he did, memorable break and showed off his offloading ability. Salmaan Moerat was busy in open play, but the Stormers skipper cost his team by conceding a yellow card. 

3: Wilco Louw (Bulls)

A powerhouse. Huge strength in the scrums, winning the Bulls two penalties. Effective target setter, strong ruck play and defence around the fringes as well.

2: Johan Grobbelaar (Bulls)

A highly effective and energetic scrapper. Stepped up at the breakdown along with Hanekom in Van Staden’s absence, conjuring up a telling turnover on his 5m and a brilliant second steal three minutes into the second half.

1: Gerhard Steenekamp (Bulls)

With Brok Harris being owned at scrum time, Steenekamp was the obvious choice. The 27-year-old had an extra spring in his step in his 50th game for the Bulls and was solid all around.

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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