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SA United Rugby Championship Team of the Week – Round 6

It was a super Saturday for South African sides in the United Rugby Championship with the Lions, Bulls and Sharks all scoring big wins, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

United Rugby Championship

It was a super Saturday for South African sides in the United Rugby Championship with the Lions, Bulls and Sharks all scoring big wins, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

The Bulls crushed Connacht 53-27 at Loftus Versfeld, while the Sharks snapped their winless streak in style, scoring 10 tries to slay the Dragons 69-14 at Kings Park. 

The Stormers were less fortunate on Friday night as they let a 14-point lead slip and endured a heart-breaking 31-23 loss to Cardiff to conclude their disastrous European tour.

Competition for places in our Team of the Week was stiff, but in the end, seven Sharks, four Lions, three Bulls and one Stormers player earned selection. 

15: Aphelele Fassi (Sharks)

Reminded how good he can be. Shook off months of disappointment and frustration with a thrilling, quality all-around performance that included a brace of tries.

14: Werner Kok (Sharks)

Could’ve powered the whole Kings Park with the energy he brought to the table, which included a try-saving tackle on Cai Evans and try assist for Grant Williams, plus he scored a peach of a try. 

13: Henco van Wyk (Lions)

Ran good lines and scored a try in each half, picking up a grubber for his first before fending off Scott Gregory and dummying Lorenzo Pani for his second.

12: David Kriel (Bulls)

Continued his rich vein of form. Strong in all aspects, scored his fifth try of the season and even scrummed down at flank when the Bulls were down to 14 men.

11: Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks)

Pure pulsating class. As complete a wing performance as you’ll see, the hard-working speedster scored and set up tries, chased hard, flew into tackles and even contested at the breakdown. Deservedly earned the Man of the Match award.

10: Jaco van der Walt (Bulls)

With his good feel for the game and educated boot, he enjoyed himself in the driver’s seat and steered his side well in a Man of the Match performance. Piled on the misery with his accurate goal-kicking, adding 16 points to the scoreline.

9: Morne van den Berg (Lions)

Looked like Antoine Dupont with his booming clearance kicks, extremely passionate on defence, bundling Lorenzo Pani into touch and saving a try by holding up Marco Manfredi over the line, was rewarded with a try, had a try assist for Van der Merwe and came away with the Man of the Match award.

8: Francke Horn (Lions) – Player of the Week

From Everyman to Superman! The skillful, criminally underrated No 8 stole the show. Created a cracking try with a break and brilliant grubber off his left foot and showed his speed, composure and soccer skills to score a top one himself. Those acts of brilliance set the Lions on their way.

7: Phepsi Buthelezi (Sharks)

A relentless battering ram of the highest order. Has really impressed with his physicality and it was on full display here. Capped a commanding performance by beating two defenders and dotting down.   

6: Emmanuel Tshituka (Lions)

A showcase of his seemingly endless gas tank highlighted by his powerful carry to score in the final minute of the match. Made more successful carries (10) and turnovers (2) and beat more defenders (9) than any other player in the Ellis Park clash.

5: Ruan Nortje (Bulls)

The Bulls’ captain led from the front, putting Akker van der Merwe away for the first try with an offload off the ground, earning his team three more points with a jackal and scoring their third try. Put in a lot of work across the field.

4: Eben Etzebeth (Sharks)

Physical as you’d expect, chased Jaden Hendrikse’s high bombs well, forcing a knock-on on one occasion and tapping back another, stole a lineout and galloped in for a popular try.

3: Coenie Oosthuizen (Sharks)

The Sharks absolutely annihilated the Dragons in the scrums, to the point where the referee would’ve waved it off had it been a boxing match, and Oosthuizen was a big part of that. Strong in open play as well, even winning a jackal.

2: Andre-Hugo Venter (Stormers)

Turned a weakness, the Stormers’ malfunctioning lineout, into a strength with his accurate lineout throwing. Strong run to start and scored the opening try after just four minutes.

1: Ntuthuko Mchunu (Sharks)

Sent Chris Coleman back at the rate of knots at scrum time, broke tackles at will and showed his skills with a silky try assist for Mapimpi.

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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