DURBAN - Picking a team based purely on consistent form over the last eight rounds of Super Rugby was relatively easy in some positions while in others, like loosehead prop and 13, it was tougher.
And by going purely on form, a few of my picks are going to ruffle some feathers. One of them is the recognition of bolter Chris Cloete at openside flank having just watched the East Londoner have another belter of a game in the Kings’ famous victory over the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday.
The Aussie commentators were in raptures about a player that is a cross between David Pocock and Heinrich Brüssow. I know Cloete - one of the few out-and-out ball stealers in our game - would not be picked ahead of Siya Kolisi but I could not resist giving him a shout. Other readers will raise eyebrows at Jaco Kriel not being in the starting XV. I just think brutal Jean-Luc du Preez should start and then Kriel can be explosive off the bench.
The Lions’ front row has to be picked en masse although I am not overly convinced by loosehead Jacques van Rooyen.
Curwin Bosch has been sensational at 10; at 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg was leading André Esterhuizen by a short head until he got injured. Raymond Rhule or Dillyn Leyds? The latter gives you options off the bench and I like Rhule’s aggressive defence to complement his finishing.
At 13, Lukhanyo Am has been promising while EW Viljoen is on the rise. No Lood de Jager or Trevor Nyakane? Hopefully they are starting to find form. In the meantime you have to love Cheetahs prop Ox Nche’s cameos and Franco Mostert’s total commitment.
Starting: 15 SP Marais, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosaan, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Warren Whitely (captain), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Bench: Bongo Mbonami, Wilco Louw, Ox Nche, Franco Mostert, Jaco Kriel, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronjé, Dillyn Leyds.