SARugbymag.co.za picks a team of players who stuck their hands up during the third round of the Rainbow Cup SA this past weekend.
15 David Kriel
A solid presence at the back for the Bulls as they continued their winning run by handing the Sharks a heavy defeat. Helped nullify the threat of his opposite number, Aphelele Fassi, while his boot also contributed to the Bulls’ territorial dominance in the second half.
14 Edwill van der Merwe
In a performance with Van der Merwe showcasing the talent that he had previously showed in the Varsity Cup, he was crucial to the Stormers’ comeback against the Lions. Just when it seemed the Cape side was dead and buried,Van der Merwe first scored an incredible solo try and then contributed to Dan du Plessis’ second try.
How good was Edwill van der Merwe in the Stormers win against the Lions! First the incredible solo try and then the impossible offload to set up Johan du Toit and Dan du Plessis.#RainbowCupSA pic.twitter.com/R72bSEedBL
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) May 16, 2021
13 Dan du Plessis
A tough pick between Du Plessis and Wandisile Simelane, as both put in good performances at Ellis Park. Ultimately, it was Du Plessis who produced the decisive touches for the Stormers, rounding Burger Odendaal for his first try, before following Johan du Toit up for his second.
12 Cornal Hendricks
Part of an incredible Bulls’ defensive effort in shutting the Sharks out at Loftus Versfeld, Hendricks showed a different side to his game. Plenty asked of him in keeping the likes of Lukhanyo Am and Yaw Penxe quiet, but he did his job efficiently.
11 Stravino Jacobs
Perhaps not the best all-round performance the Bulls youngster has turned in, but Jacobs was there when the Bulls needed him most, sprinting through to finish off a well-worked try in the second half.
10 Morne Steyn
Keeps his place in the team after a man-of-the-match performance against the Sharks. The very best of Steyn’s qualities was on display at Loftus as he controlled the match by the strings of his boot laces with his pinpoint tactical kicking, accurate goalkicking and precise passing.
9 Herschel Jantjies
Made his return from a short-term injury and it was clear why the Stormers had missed him against the Bulls. Brough plenty of energy both offensively and defensively, winning a crucial turnover penalty when the Lions were looking to run the clock down in the closing stages.
8 Duane Vermeulen
Unlike last week when it took him a while to get into the swing of things, Duane Vermeulen got into his work from the outset. The Bok No 8 was heavily involved in most of the Bulls’ powerplays up front. His brilliant performance was underlined by a strong carry down the left flank, culminating in the big man ruthlessly bouncing off an attempted tackle from his Test teammate, Siya Kolisi.
7 Elrigh Louw
Was called off the bench early to replace Arno Botha in the first half against the Sharks. Another strong outing as the visitors struggled to deal with his abrasive approach.
6 Marco van Staden
Followed up his performance against the Stormers with another excellent showing at his home ground. Van Staden made more than his fair share of tackles when the Sharks were threatening the Bulls tryline in the first half.
5 Ruan Nortje
The 22-year-old’s star continues to shine. Shrugged off a heavy hit from Kolisi in the first half and ran the Bulls lineout with maximum efficiency.
4 Walt Steenkamp
Has formed an excellent partnership with Nortje. Steenkamp worked his socks off for the Bulls.
3 Trevor Nyakane
One of two Springbok props brought off the bench in the second half who made all the difference for the Bulls. Wasted no time in getting stuck in and layed into the Sharks at scrum time.
2 Johan Grobbelaar
An unsung hero for the Bulls, the 23-year-old Grobbelaar made his presence felt with some strong carries, while his set-piece work is near flawless.
1 Lizo Gqoboka
Clearly pumped up when he ran on to the field in the second half, Gqoboka showed his Springbok pedigree against the Sharks. It was his quick thinking in gathering a loose ball and pouncing over the Sharks tryline that started the Bulls’ rout of the Durbanites.
Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images