With the European and American domestic seasons having come to an end, DYLAN JACK picks a team of the best-performing South Africans abroad.
15 Joe Pietersen: The former Sharks, Stormers and Cheetahs back had an outstanding season for the San Diego Legion in the second edition of the growing Major League Rugby. His unerring boot got his side through some tight games and would have won them their first-ever title if not for conceding a late try in the final.
14 Cheslin Kolbe: One of the players of the season in both France and Europe, the Springbok has shone in helping Toulouse to the Top 14 title.
13 Kyle Steyn: Despite coming into the Glasgow Warriors team halfway through the season, Steyn looked as though he had been playing there for his entire career. A probable Scotland cap awaits the Maties graduate.
12 Brad Barritt (c): The only player in this lineup who has already been capped by another nation, Barritt was far too good to leave out. The former Sharks centre stood out with an incredible defensive effort to lead Saracens to the European Champions Cup, before shrugging off an injury to help them claim the double.
11 Duhan van der Merwe: The Edinburgh wing was second only to Rabz Maxwane as a top-performing wing in the Pro14. At 100kg and 1.93m, the strong-running Van der Merwe plays like the backline version of older brother and Sharks hooker Akker.
10 Jaco van der Walt: Europe has admittedly been in need of top-performing flyhalves this season, but Jaco van der Walt was excellent for Edinburgh.
9 Francois Hougaard: A bit of a surprise pick, given how well both Faf de Klerk and Cobus Reinach have performed this season, but I felt Hougaard deserved a shout-out with how well he has done in a Worcester Warriors side that have played far better than expected.
8 Marcell Coetzee: Having overcome not one but two knee injuries, Coetzee is finally paying Ulster back for their investment and patience in him. Big shouts have followed his season for a Springbok recall.
7 Rynhardt Elstadt: It was a bit of a surprise when Elstadt was linked with a Springbok call-up, but the big flank has shown for Toulouse why Rassie Erasmus has faith in him.
6 Chris Cloete: A terrier on the ground and in the tackle for Munster this season.
5 Franco Mostert: The Springbok was immediately put into the Gloucester lineup when his contract saga with the Lions had been cleared, allowing him to hit the ground running in the Premiership. A mainstay in the Gloucester team once he had made his debut.
4 Jean Kleyn: An unsung hero for Munster. Has worked hard to earn a potential call-up to the Ireland squad.
3 Vincent Koch: The ‘Vanilla Gorilla’ has been incredible at tighthead for Saracens. He was a big part of their defensive performance against Leinster and had a personal highlight of being the one to kick the ball dead at full time.
2 Bismarck du Plessis: One of the few players who performed consistently well for Montpellier, Du Plessis is yet another representation of why age is just a number.
1 Pierre Schoeman: Named both Player of the Year and Best Newcomer for Edinburgh, Schoeman has dominated many a Pro14 scrum alongside countryman WP Nel. He was also one of two South Africans to be selected for the Pro14 team of the season.
Photo: Manuel Blondeau/Icon Sport