SR Unlocked Team of the Week (Round 4)

DYLAN JACK identifies the standout South African players based on performances in the fourth round of Super Rugby Unlocked.

The Lions picked up their first win of the competition in style, as they scored nine tries to demolish Griquas 61-31 in Johannesburg on Friday evening. Meanwhile, on Saturday the Sharks bounced back from their disappointing loss to the Vodacom Bulls by scoring six tries to beat the Pumas 42-19 in Nelspruit. In the big derby of the weekend, the Bulls put in a ruthless first-half performance to claim a 39-6 bonus-point victory over the Stormers in a lightning-affected match in Pretoria.

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Given their performance in the North-South derby, there are a total of 10 Bulls players in this week’s team, including their entire forward pack. The Bulls’ pack not only contained the Stormers’ front row of Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe and Bongi Mbonambi at the scrum, but also gave their backs excellent momentum and were a constant threat with their driving mauls.

The Bulls halfback pair of Ivan van Zyl and Morne Steyn retain their places from last week’s team as both had brilliant individual performances against the Stormers. Van Zyl not only controlled the game well from the base of the ruck, but also scored a try and made two clean breaks, beating five defenders. Steyn, meanwhile, rolled back the years as he assisted two tries, one of them with a delightful behind-the-back offload to centre Stedman Gans.

Marius Louw is one of two Sharks players featured in the team following his contributions on attack and defence against the Pumas. Manie Libbok is also in after another solid performance at fullback.

Three Lions players feature, including Wandisile Simelane, who marked his return to their starting lineup with a man-of-the-match performance. On his first start of the competition, Simelane made an outstanding 82 metres from 14 carries, five clean breaks, scoring a try and assisting another four. He is joined by Stean Pienaar, who also made his first start of the tournament, and Courtnall Skosan, who scored a hat-trick.

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15 Manie Libbok (Sharks)
14 Stean Pienaar (Lions)
13 Wandisile Simelane (Lions)
12 Marius Louw (Sharks)
11 Courtnall Skosan (Lions)
10 Morne Steyn (Bulls)
9 Ivan van Zyl (Bulls)
8 Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)
7 Elrigh Louw (Bulls)
6 Marco van Staden (Bulls)
5 Ruan Nortje (Bulls)
4 Jason Jenkins (Bulls)
3 Trevor Nyakane (Bulls)
2 Johan Grobbelaar (Bulls)
1 Jacques van Rooyen (Bulls)
*Note: Cheetahs had a bye in round four

Team of the Week (Round 3)

Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack