DYLAN JACK identifies the standout South African players based on performances in the seventh round of the Currie Cup.
In the final week of round-robin action in the Currie Cup three games took place – two of them involving the Vodacom Bulls – after the competition was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bulls secured their place at the top of the table by holding on to beat the Lions in Pretoria on Wednesday, before fielding a youthful outfit featuring several debutants to take on the Pumas in Nelspruit on Sunday. However, the Jake White’s team was put to the sword as the Pumas claimed a 44-14 bonus-point win to end their season on a high.
In the remaining fixture, the Cheetahs rounded off their ill-fated Currie Cup campaign with a 22-18 victory over Griquas in Kimberley this past Saturday in a dead-rubber match.
Meanwhile, the highly anticipated match between Western Province and the Sharks was unfortunately called off after a number of positive Covid-19 tests in the Sharks camp. As a result, SA Rugby shifted the semi-finals back a week and the playoffs will now take place on 23 January.
This week’s team is one for the ‘minnow’ unions as the Pumas and Griquas contribute a combined seven players. Among the Pumas players is flyhalf Devon Williams, who scored a brace of tries against the Bulls including a sensational solo effort for his first try. 22-year-old loosehead prop Morgan Naude also makes it in after giving Bulls rookie Jan-Hendrik Wessels, questionably fielded at tighthead, a hard time in the scrums.
Griquas are represented by in-form scrumhalf Zak Burger, who produced a delightful assist against the Cheetahs to put wing Daniel Kasende away for a late try, as well as flank Gideon van der Merwe.
While the Cheetahs were not at their best against Griquas, they have five players in the team including Frans Steyn, who kicked 17 of their 22 points. Young loose forward George Cronje is also in after a tigerish display at the breakdown and in the carry.
CURRIE CUP TEAM OF THE WEEK (Round 7)
15 Tiaan Swanepoel (Lions)
14 Duncan Saal (Cheetahs)
13 Dries Swanepoel (Cheetahs)
12 Frans Steyn (Cheetahs)
11 Etienne Taljaard (Pumas)
10 Devon Williams (Pumas)
9 Zak Burger (Griquas)
8 Willie Engelbrecht (Pumas)
7 George Cronje (Cheetahs)
6 Gideon van der Merwe (Griquas)
5 Marvin Orie (Lions)
4 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (Pumas)
3 Trevor Nyakane (Bulls)
2 Marnus van der Merwe (Cheetahs)
1 Morgan Naude (Pumas)
*Note: The match between Western Province and the Sharks scheduled for 9 January at Newlands was called off.