It’s unsurprising then that the trio again make the bulk of our best side from the weekend.
The Citizen brings you our weekly Best Currie Cup XV. These selections are based on individuals performances from the relevant weekend and doesn’t reflect form over an extended period.
15 – Cheslin Kolbe (Western Province):
The hot-stepping Province fullback gave yet another scintillating performance for the Streeptruie against arch-enemies the Bulls in the North-South derby. He capped his display with an outstanding individual effort in the dying minutes, coasting past several defenders and giving a no-look pass to captain Juan de Jongh, who dotted down to add serious insult to grave injury for the Bulls. One wonders if Kolbe will ever be unleashed on the international stage? Understudy: Andries Coetzee (Lions)
14 – Lionel Mapoe (Lions):
The Lions winger put in another strong performance for Jozi’s Pride against the Kings this past weekend. He dominated with his physical presence and did enough to retain his place in the side. Understudy: Rayno Benjamin
13 – Francois Venter (Cheetahs):
The Bulls exile was at the forefront of the Cheetahs attacking effort against their central neighbours, Griquas, this weekend. He was the metaphorical axis around which the attack and the organisation thereof revolved. He has long been known as a bustling, physical centre, but he added a touch of finesse to his considerable brawn. He gave a metaphorical “Sonny Bill” pass to ensure a Rayno Benjamin try and he gave a deft grubber that resulted in other winger Raymond Rhule dotting down. A player to watch for the rest of the tournament. Understudy: Stokkies Hanekom (Lions)
12 – Juan de Jongh (Western Province):
Western Province’s renewed attacking vigour can in no small part be attributed to De Jongh’s talents finally being utilised by management. De Jongh is not playing in the No 12 jersey for Province, but it is after all his natural position. Juan’s stepping and all round attacking ability makes him one of the most dangerous players on the planet, and one can’t help but feel that the best is yet to come from the Streeptrui skipper. He capped a fine individual performance against the Bulls with a try in the dying moments. Understudy: Wayne Stevens (Griquas)
11 – Seabelo Senatla (Western Province):
The Blitzbok recruit showed that his talents do not merely lie with the abbreviated code. He played the part of the quintessential finishing winger against the Bulls – dotting down twice and being a general threat to the defence. His speed makes him a truly treacherous customer. Understudy: Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs)
10 – Patrick Lambie (Sharks):
It is true that Lambie played off the bench for the Sharks against the Pumas, but he influenced the game significantly when introduced. He capitalised on the proverbial lull in play during the second half – his shrewd decision making and tactical kicking put the Sharks in better attacking positions. He also provided calmness to a rattled Sharks outfit and added rhythm to their attack. Class personified. Understudy: Demetri Catrakilis (Western Province)
9 – Renier van Rooyen (Pumas):
The Pumas have a knack of producing quality, traditional scrumhalves – think along the lines of Faf de Klerk and Shaun Venter. Van Rooyen provided snappy service and made solid decisions throughout their game against the Sharks. He also exhibited multi-dimensionality by pocketing three turnovers at the breakdown. Understudy: Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs)
8 – Warren Whitely (Lions):
The talismanic Lions skipper was once again one of the driving forces behind his team’s runaway victory against the EP Kings. The lanky No 8 used his frame to good effect – he was brilliant at lineout time and he launched several awesome counter attacks with shrewd decision making. His Springbok call-up is well deserved on the back of a season of consistent stand out performances. Understudy: Renaldo Bothma (Pumas)
7 – Michael Rhodes (Western Province):
The bulky Province flanker put in a customary workmanlike performance against the Bulls. He contributed 23 tackles to WP’s defensive cause – a tremendous effort by the versatile player. He capped his performance with a try. Understudy: Derick Minnie (Lions)
6 – Jaco Kriel (Lions):
Kriel is building on an already sterling reputation by producing grand performances every week. The busy No 6 was an eternal presence on the park with his powerful runs and contributed a hat-trick of tries to the Lions 60-19 annihilation of the EP Kings. He was also a force at ruck time. Understudy: Jacques Botes (Sharks)
5 – Franco Mostert (Lions):
Mostert is evolving into a vintage No 5 lock. He is a force as a lineout jumper and he organises it with aplomb. He, however, combines his vintage traits with a modern mentality towards his work rate on the park. Understudy: Manuel Carizza (Western Province)
4 – Paul Willemse (Bulls):
The Bulls bruiser continues to thrive despite his side’s hitherto losing record. He performs his basic duties well with an uncompromising attitude towards the physical aspects of the game. Understudy: Jean Kleyn (Western Province)
3 – Ruan Dreyer (Lions):
The Lions tighthead prop put in yet another strong performance at scrum time. A dominant overall display usually starts with a strong set piece, and one has to look no further than Dreyer to pin point the powerhouse of the Lions’ scrum. Understudy: Lourens Adriaanse (Sharks)
2 – Stephan Coetzee (Western Province):
The WP hooker shone in his run on debut for the men from Cape Town. He ticked all the boxes: solid throwing, scrumming and work rate on defence and at the breakdown. Understudy: Robbie Coetzee (Lions)
1 – Vincent Koch (Pumas):
The Coenie Oosthuizen comparison does not merely end with his bleached hairdo. The Pumas loosehead prop proved a strong presence at the scrum, but he combined it with a tremendous tackle count and presence in the loose. Understudy: Schalk van der Merwe (Lions).
Week 1 XV: Cheslin Kolbe (Western Province), Lionel Mapoe (Lions), S’bura Sithole (Sharks), Michael van der Spuy (Western Province), Ruan Combrinck (Lions), Fred Zeilinga (Sharks), Ross Cronje (Lions), Luke Watson (Kings), Jaco Kriel (Lions), Marnus Schoeman (Griquas), Stephan Lewies (Sharks), Paul Willemse (Blue Bulls), Lourens Adriaanse (Sharks), Kyle Cooper (Sharks), Schalk van der Merwe (Lions).