DYLAN JACK identifies the standout South African players based on performances in the sixth round of Super Rugby Unlocked.
In the penultimate round of Super Rugby Unlocked the Sharks and Stormers both claimed wins to keep up the hunt for the title and stay in touch with the log-leading Vodacom Bulls, who had a bye weekend.
Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch slotted a late penalty to spare their blushes and help snatch a 34-33 victory over Griquas in Kimberley. Meanwhile, the Stormers were far more comfortable as they beat the Cheetahs 30-13 in their final match at Newlands.
Unfortunately, the Lions had a second match impacted by Covid-19 protocols after their match against the Pumas was postponed due to safety precautions. The decision was triggered on Friday following two further positive results from a second batch of tests after one player from the Pumas returned a positive result in scheduled testing earlier in the week.
Warrick Gelant, who keeps his place at fullback from last weekend following another excellent performance against the Cheetahs, is one of seven Stormers players in the team. He is joined by halfback pair Damian Willemse and Herschel Jantjies in the backline.
Willemse produced arguably his best performance at flyhalf this year against Griquas to edge out Bosch this week, while Jantjies marked his return to the Stormers lineup with a return to form, producing a typically energetic performance scoring a try and beating four defenders.
In the pack, JD Schickerling is in the team, with an all-Stormers front row of Frans Malherbe – who played a good 70 minutes against Griquas – Scarra Ntubeni and Steven Kitshoff.
There are five Sharks players in this week’s team, including centre pair Marius Louw and Jeremy Ward, who helped spark their second-half comeback in Kimberley. Loose forwards Phendulani Buthelezi and Thembelani Bholi both also make it in after hard-working shifts against Griquas, against whom both also shone when given the space to attack with ball in hand, while there is also a place for an equally workaholic Ruben van Heerden.
Finally, there is also space for three Griquas players as they can count themselves desperately unlucky not to have sealed their first win in the competition. Wings Ederies Arendse and Eduan Keyter were both a handful for the Sharks defenders and scored a try each. Openside flank Gideon van der Merwe also makes it in after he capped a fine offensive and defensive performance with a try.
SUPER RUGBY UNLOCKED TEAM OF THE WEEK (Round 6)
15 Warrick Gelant (Stormers)
14 Ederies Arendse (Griquas)
13 Jeremy Ward (Sharks)
12 Marius Louw (Sharks)
11 Eduan Keyter (Griquas)
10 Damian Willemse (Stormers)
9 Herschel Jantjies (Stormers)
8 Phendulani Buthelezi (Sharks)
7 Thembelani Bholi (Sharks)
6 Gideon van der Merwe (Griquas)
5 JD Schickerling (Stormers)
4 Ruben van Heerden (Sharks)
3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers)
2 Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers)
1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)
* Note: The Bulls had a bye in round six and the match between the Lions and Pumas was postponed.
Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix