JON CARDINELLI picks a South African XV based on performances in round 18 of Super Rugby.
The three South African sides in action this past Saturday all failed to deliver particularly convincing performances. When one considers the stats, one understands why these teams have lost more than 50% of their matches in 2018.
The Bulls recovered from a bad start to beat the Jaguares 43-34 in Pretoria. While they produced some magic moments on attack, they missed a whopping 53 tackles, according to the official Sanzaar stats.
The Stormers scored 21 points against the Sharks in the first half of the derby in Cape Town, but only six points in the second. The Sharks were their own worst enemies in that they conceded 11 penalties overall and 18 turnovers on attack.
All that said, there were some encouraging individual performances, especially by those in light blue. There are 10 Bulls in our Form XV this week.
Springbok lock RG Snyman was colossal at the lineouts and collisions. The Bulls scrum fired, and Marco van Staden was a menace at the breakdowns.
Jesse Kriel grew stronger as the game progressed, while Embrose Papier and Handré Pollard took control of the contest towards the end of the first half. The latter converted six out of eight attempts on goal.
There’s bound to be some debate about the selection at tighthead. Thomas du Toit carried strongly for the Sharks, but was under a lot of pressure at scrum-time. Frans Malherbe produced a more solid all-round showing than his Sharks counterpart.
Johnny Kotze, who usually plays on the wing, cracks the nod at No 12 this week. He certainly showed his ability to break the line (twice), beat defenders (six), and make metres (105) in the win over the Jaguares.
SA TEAM OF THE WEEK (ROUND 18)
15. Warrick Gelant (Bulls)
14. Jamba Ulengo (Bulls)
13. Jesse Kriel (Bulls)
12. Johnny Kotze (Bulls)
11. Raymond Rhule (Stormers)
10. Handré Pollard (Bulls)
9. Embrose Papier (Bulls)
8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers)
7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers)
6. Marco van Staden (Bulls)
5. RG Snyman (Bulls)
4. Cobus Wiese (Stormers)
3. Frans Malherbe (Stormers)
2. Jaco Visagie (Bulls)
1. Pierre Schoeman (Bulls)
Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images