DYLAN JACK identifies the standout South African players based on performances in the sixth round of the Currie Cup.
Over a dramatic weekend of the penultimate set of round-robin fixtures, Western Province, the Lions and Sharks joined the Vodacom Bulls in securing their places in the Currie Cup playoffs.
This came after Western Province secured a last-gasp 31-29 victory over the Cheetahs, which effectively ended the Bloemfontein team’s hopes of getting into the semi-finals and defending their title.
At the same time, the Sharks returned to attacking form with a 47-19 bonus-point win over Griquas and ended a run of two successive losses to the Cheetahs and Lions. Earlier in the day, the Lions battled to a 33-25 win over the Pumas in Nelspruit after trailing at half time.
Western Province’s performance earns seven of their players selection in this week’s team, including Tim Swiel, who held his nerve to slot the winning penalty against the Cheetahs, as well as the front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe. Loose forwards Johan du Toit and Jaco Coetzee also make it in. Du Toit made a match-high 13 tackles, while Coetzee scored a crucial try from a maul.
The Sharks have four players in this week’s team, including wings Werner Kok and Yaw Penxe, who each scored one try against Griquas as well as young scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, who in his first start for the team executed his kicks and passes very well. No 8 Sikhubuzo Notshe also returned to form after a subdued couple of weeks, carrying strongly and scoring a try at the start of the second half.
The Pumas have two players selected after a determined, albeit unsuccessful, showing against the Lions. Lock and captain Pieter Janse van Vuuren disrupted the normally dependable Lions lineout, while outside centre Erich Cronje did very well to defend against opposite number Wandisile Simelane and scored a try.
Lastly, the Lions and Cheetahs have one player each this week. Lions fullback Tiaan Swanepoel scored 22 points against the Pumas, while centre Frans Steyn was equally dependable off the kicking tee, slotting two conversions and five penalties.
CURRIE CUP TEAM OF THE WEEK (Round 4)
15 Tiaan Swanepoel (Lions)
14 Werner Kok (Sharks)
13 Erich Cronje (Pumas)
12 Frans Steyn (Cheetahs)
11 Yaw Penxe (Sharks)
10 Tim Swiel (Western Province)
9 Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks)
8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Sharks)
7 Johan du Toit (Western Province)
6 Jaco Coetzee (Western Province)
5 Pieter Janse van Vuuren (Pumas)
4 JD Schickerling (Western Province)
3 Frans Malherbe (Western Province)
2 Bongi Mbonambi (Western Province)
1 Steven Kitshoff (Western Province)
*Note: The Bulls had a bye in the sixth round of the Currie Cup
Photo: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images