The Stormers’ captain fantastic Deon Fourie leads a blue wave into our South African United Rugby Championship Team of the Week, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.
Saturday’s coastal derby between the Sharks and the Stormers at Kings Park was the only URC clash of the weekend. The rescheduled first-round fixture was worth the wait for Stormers fans as the Cape franchise claimed a 46-19 bonus-point win and they predictably dominate our line-up with just two Sharks earning selection.
15: Clayton Blommetjies (Stormers)
A lethal playmaker. Started the opening counter-attacking try (and added the conversion), set up Seabelo Senatla for his try with a floating pass at first receiver and cleaned up a couple of sticky situations.
14: Suleiman Hartzenberg (Stormers)
Such an exciting young talent. Beat Thaakir Abrahams in the air to create a scoring opportunity, made a great break that should’ve resulted in a try for Manie Libbok and scored one himself.
13: Ruhan Nel (Stormers)
A shoo-in considering Ben Tapuai is ineligible for selection but outplayed the Australian, who conceded a penalty for not rolling away, in any event. A defensive rock and his hack-ahead led to Hartzenberg’s try.
12: Dan du Plessis (Stormers)
Completely shut down robust Rohan Janse van Rensburg with textbook rush defence and low tackling technique, made inroads on attack, a joint-match-high three offloads and his work rate was exceptional.
11: Seabelo Senatla (Stormers)
Back with a bang. Electric feet to score, good dribbling skills, hands and unselfish play to unleash Hartzenberg for his try, athletic in the air and good on defence, making a big hit on James Venter. Made the most clean breaks (3) and beat the most defenders (4).
10: Manie Libbok (Stormers)
Redeemed himself after a horror first half to claim the Man of the Match award and finish with a personal tally of 19 points. Masterful manipulation to put his halfback partner in for the opening try, showed his pace to streak in for a five-pointer of his own and slotted a 50-metre penalty goal.
9: Herschel Jantjies (Stormers)
Looked like his old self. Textbook support play to draw first blood, snappy service and caused all sorts of problems for the Sharks’ back trio with pinpoint kicking from the base.
8: Marcel Theunissen (Stormers)
Took his starting opportunity with both hands. His quick feet, which he used in the phase preceding Ruben van Heerden’s charge over the line, are very impressive, while his power saw him make a team-high five successful carries and a big hit on Tapuai was the highlight of his strong defensive work.
7: Henco Venter (Sharks)
Nothing flashy but that’s exactly why he made the cut. The tireless donkey work he did for the full 80 minutes deserved recognition while Junior Pokomela hurt his chances by missing a tackle on Gerbrandt Grobler that cost the Capetonians a try.
6: Deon Fourie (Stormers) – Player of the Week
The eternal rose as the commentators so poetically called him. Omnipresent around the park, including making a try-saving tackle on Curwin Bosch – one of an unrivalled 15 hits – and a bloodhound at the breakdown, where he seized two turnovers, the second on his 5m line.
5: Gerbrandt Grobler (Sharks)
Wonderful wherewithal to snipe from a ruck and gallop in to break the Durbanites’ duck just before halftime and dogged determination to stretch over for his second in the final quarter.
4: Ruben van Heerden (Stormers)
A dream return to his old stomping ground. Bulldozed opposite number Hyron Andrews, who was also guilty of falling for Libbok’s dummy, to score a top try and spoiled a 50:22 with a clutch lineout steal.
3: Neethling Fouche (Stormers)
Made a massive statement with his annihilation of Ntuthuko Mchunu at scrum time. The Stormers’ starting front-row won four scrum penalties, the first being the most important as it came on the Sharks’ feed on the visitors’ 5m line and set the tone.
2: Joseph Dweba (Stormers)
Kerron van Vuuren got through more work and made a few good leg-driving carries and may have cracked the nod had he not been replaced as early as the 44th minute. Dweba had a solid overall game and showed good patience and power to score from a driving maul.
1: Brok Harris (Stormers)
Aging like fine wine. The 37-year-old taught Carlu Sadie, who’s known for his scrummaging prowess, a few tricks in the set-piece in a vintage performance.