JON CARDINELLI picks a South African XV based on performances in round one of Super Rugby.
Three South African teams were in action this past weekend. The Stormers hung on for a 28-20 win against the Jaguares at Newlands. The Lions were too strong for the Sharks in Johannesburg, winning 26-19.
The Lions forwards hammered the Sharks at the scrums and collisions. The visitors fired at the lineouts, though, with lock Ruan Botha stealing two off the opposition throw.
Eleven players from that match have been included in our first form XV of the season. There were some great match-ups in the backs, especially at flyhalf and outside centre.
Lukhanyo Am had a strong game, but was upstaged by Lionel Mapoe on this occasion. The Lions No 13 scored two tries and was solid on defence.
Elton Jantjies looked to be in impressive touch during the early stages. The Lions flyhalf was less influential in the second stanza, though, and missed three goal kicks in total.
Rob du Preez also missed a couple of shots on goal. That said, he had a stronger all-round game at Ellis Park.
The new Sharks pivot was dominant at the gainline, and made two clean breaks. He finished with 567 kicking metres, a lot more than the next best player in round one (Jantjies, 239).
Damian Willemse deserves plaudits after his fine attacking display against the Jaguares. The Stormers flyhalf did make several errors, though.
Nizaam Carr (100 metres made and 14 tackles) and JD Schickerling (four lineout wins and three dominant tackles) were two of the standout performers at Newlands. Steven Kitshoff dominated his opposite number at scrum-time, and was prominent with ball in hand (eight passes, two offloads and two tackle breaks).
SA TEAM OF THE WEEK (Round 1)
15. Andries Coetzee (Lions)
14. S’bu Nkosi (Sharks)
13. Lionel Mapoe (Lions)
12. Damian de Allende (Stormers)
11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions)
10. Rob du Preez (Sharks)
9. Ross Cronjé (Lions)
8. Nizaam Carr (Stormers)
7. Cyle Brink (Lions)
6. Kwagga Smith (Lions)
5. JD Schickerling (Stormers)
4. Ruan Botha (Sharks)
3. Ruan Dreyer (Lions)
2. Malcolm Marx (Lions)
1. Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix