15. Israel Folau (Waratahs)
Made catching the high ball look easy, again. Scored a magical try after claiming a pinpoint kick from Bernard Foley as he left the defenders helpless with his superb athletic abilities. Also much better in defence than earlier speculations suggested as he saved at least three tries with well-timed solid tackles. Taking to his third code like a duck to water.
14. Rod Davies (Reds)
Retains his place in the Team of the Week as he simply switches from the left wing to the right, showing his versatility at the back. He is obviously making Digby Ioane feel nervous about his place in the team by being as industrious as the hot-stepper himself. Davies is always looking for work and carries the ball well.
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs)
Becoming more dangerous with every game as the Waratahs seem to be settling into their attacking aspirations. Broke the line on a couple of occasions and once made a fool of Aaron Cruden by wrong-footing him for a solid run and offload which resulted in a try for debutant Cam Crawford.
12. Jan Serfontein (Bulls)
Heading into the match a lot was said about the Kings’ defense, but Serfontein found gap after gap, breaking the line at will and showed exceptional awareness when he popped the ball up from a tackle which led to the Bulls second try via Jano Vermaak. Combined very well with his fly-half and scored a try himself.
11. Willie le Roux (Cheetahs)
His tricks didn’t always pan out the way he wanted and he made more than his fair share of handing errors in the slippery conditions, but he was everywhere on the park, chipping the ball into space, trying all kinds of things that kept the Sharks guessing. His efforts were rewarded with a intercept try and with a guy like Le Roux in your team, you know that those giveaways are always on the cards with him getting in the opponent’s face so often.
10. Morné Steyn (Bulls)
Definitely his best performance this season; did a lot more running and when he kicked, it was with purpose. Played his inside centre into space very well and had yet another successful day aiming at the posts. It is evident that when Steyn is in an attacking frame of mind, the Bulls can produce and they did so with gusto against a Kings team that never pitched.
9. Nic White (Brumbies)
Hasn’t looked this busy with ball in hand since the first couple of rounds. Completely overshadowed Wallaby Will Genia in all aspects of the game, and if he can maintain the form he showed against the Reds, he might yet take over from the little master. White has probably the best rapid and flat pass from the base and has engineered a number of tries for his wingers in that fashion.
8. TJ Ioane (Highlanders)
His team might have recorded their eighth consecutive loss in 2013, but it is by no means through lack of effort by this barnstorming backrower. He was telling with ball in hand and put in some monstrous tackles.
7. Arno Botha (Bulls)
For the life of me I cannot understand why the Bulls insist on keeping this talented man on the bench so often. Botha plays with the kind of passion that only youngsters can produce; he’s devastating with ball in hand, dependable in defence and offers so many options as a talented all-round athlete.
6. Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs)
Never does much with ball in hand, but he is always there to protect possession or rip the ball from the opposition in contact. The good news for Heyneke Meyer is that this was the second consecutive match in which Brussow conceded no penalties. Together with Robert Ebersohn, the Cheetah pair was instrumental in the amount of turnover ball they wrestled off the Sharks, effectively preventing them from crossing the whitewash.
5. Sam Whitelock (Crusaders)
Together with Romano they are quickly establishing themselves as the new Victor and Bakkies. They form a dynamic duo and compliment each other perfectly. Where Romano creates the forward momentum, it is Whitelock that stops his counterparts in their tracks and often manages to put them under an extreme amount of pressure at the breakdown as well as in the setpieces.
4. Luke Romano (Crusaders)
Has cemented his place in the Team of the Week and it has become apparent that he is thriving as a ball carrier and superior to most at lineout time, again poaching a couple of balls against the throw.
3. Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes)
The Hurricanes have produced a number of versatile front rowers, this big fellow being the latest to add a try to his name. He hit the ball up hard and when he wasn’t breaking though tackles, he was making them and taking names, putting in an incredible amount of work in defence.
2. Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls)
The Bulls hooker had by far his best outing of the season. He was all over the park, very visible in the thick of things and as relentless as a foxterrier at the breakdown. A few more of these powerful performances and he might yet give the cool and calm Cheetahs captain a run for the Springbok jumper.
1. Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs)
Back in the jersey that made him famous, Coenie rumbled his way over a few defenders and made Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis drop his head in shame at scrum time. Again proved hard to stop when he took the ball into contact and acts as a second fetcher, offering superb support for Brussow and the other loose forwards at the breakdown.
by Jackie Smit