DYLAN JACK identifies the standout South African players based on performances in the second round of Super Rugby Unlocked.
The Cheetahs continued their excellent start to South Africa’s domestic Super Rugby tournament in round two, putting in a superb defensive performance to beat the Vodacom Bulls 19-17 in Bloemfontein. Meanwhile, the Pumas produced the surprise result of the weekend by claiming a 27-21 win over Griquas in Kimberley. Following a bye in the first round, the Stormers were rusty but did just enough to hold on and beat the Lions 23-17 at Newlands.
While it was not the highest scoring of weekends, there were still a few outside backs who put their hands up for selection this week. Pumas fullback Devon Williams and wing Neil Maritz justifiably earn their places in the team as each scored a try against Griquas. The duo were a consistent threat throughout the game, with Williams making 51 metres from six carries and picking up a try assist, while Maritz – who will be playing sevens next year – made a massive 97m from seven carries, beating two defenders.
They are joined in the back three by Rosko Specman, one of six Cheetahs players in the team, after his performance against one of his former employers.
The Lions have five players in their team, indicating they were dominant against the Stormers despite ending up on the wrong end of the result. Burger Odendaal was named man of the match after the game, while halfback pair Elton Jantjies – easily the form flyhalf in the country at the moment – and Morne van den Berg outplayed their opposite numbers. There was also a pleasing return to form for Jaco Kriel, who had a hand in the Lions’ first try and was typically bullish at Newlands.
The Stormers, meanwhile, contribute two players to the XV, with lock Salmaan Moerat and Springbok prop Steven Kitshoff the two players who can hold their heads high after what was a disappointing performance from John Dobson’s side.
SUPER RUGBY UNLOCKED TEAM OF THE WEEK (Round 2)
15 Devon Williams (Pumas)
14 Neil Maritz (Pumas)
13 Burger Odendaal (Lions)
12 Frans Steyn (Cheetahs)
11 Rosko Specman (Cheetahs)
10 Elton Jantjies (Lions)
9 Morne van den Berg (Lions)
8 Jasper Wiese (Cheetahs)
7 Junior Pokomela (Cheetahs)
6 Jaco Kriel (Lions)
5 Marvin Orie (Lions)
4 Salmaan Moerat (Stormers)
3 Luan de Bruin (Cheetahs)
2 Reinach Venter (Cheetahs)
1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)
*Note: The Sharks had a bye in round two
Photo: Gallo Images