CRAIG LEWIS picks a South African XV based on performances in round 17 of Super Rugby.
This season’s woeful away form of South African sides continued on Saturday as the Bulls and Stormers suffered disappointing defeats to the Sunwolves and Jaguares respectively.
Mercifully, the Lions and Sharks clashed in a compelling derby, with the latter ultimately completing a gutsy 31-24 victory despite spending much of the match on the back foot.
Akker van der Merwe walked away with the Man of the Match award after producing an industrious effort from hooker, while Dan du Preez (20 tackles) and Philip van der Walt (24) produced an immense display on defence.
Rob du Preez did manage proceedings well from flyhalf, while there were also telling contributions from André Esterhuizen (one try, 39m, 10 carries) and Lwazi Mvovo (one try, 90m, five carries), who earns selection here on the left wing.
For the Lions, flankers Cyle Brink and Kwagga Smith put in big shifts, while Andries Coetzee enjoyed a good game at fullback as he made 67m from 16 carries.
Understandably, mostly Sharks and Lions players dominate this week’s selections, but mention should also be made of Jesse Kriel and Jamba Ulengo, who produced gallant efforts in a losing cause for the Bulls.
SA TEAM OF THE WEEK (ROUND 17)
15. Andries Coetzee (Lions)
14. Jamba Ulengo (Bulls)
13. Jesse Kriel (Bulls)
12. André Esterhuizen (Sharks)
11. Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks)
10. Rob du Preez (Sharks)
9. Cameron Wright (Sharks)
8. Dan du Preez (Sharks)
7. Cyle Brink (Lions)
6. Philip van der Walt (Sharks)
5. Ruan Botha (Sharks)
4. RG Snyman (Bulls)
3. Ruan Dreyer (Lions)
2. Akker van der Merwe (Sharks)
1. Dylan Smith (Lions)
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images