CAPE TOWN - Independent Media rugby writer Wynona Louw has rated the contributions of every Western Province player in Saturday's Currie Cup final win over the Sharks.
Damian Willemse 7/10: How about that little dink over the top to Huw Jones before Dillyn Leyds went over in the corner? That was great, and so was the way he swerved out of Kobus van Wyk’s tackle just before throwing that pass. His feet threatened the Sharks a couple of times, and he also slipped through the half gaps just enough times to motivate the Sharks to be right on him every time the ball went his way. Added a good kick-to-touch to his name.
Seabelo Senatla 6.5: Secured a great steal at the breakdown in the second quarter. He didn’t see much ball, but the effort was always there (think of his kick-chases and his work on the ground). Top offload as he was driven into touch by Curwin Bosch to hand Jones the chance to do some damage, which he did.
Ruhan Nel 5: It’s a pity he couldn’t end his Currie Cup season the way he performed throughout the domestic competition. Made a couple of mistakes at Kings Park, including a missed tackle on Marius Louw right after his break that led to the first try of the match, a late charge on Bosch, and he made way too many handling errors. But he put good pressure on Ruan Botha after Robert du Preez’s second-half kick-off. In fact, he deserves a compliment or two for the way he applied pressure on the Sharks’ receivers a number of times. Also made a couple of nice runs.
Huw Jones 8: Stunning little step and running line before scoring his try that got Western Province on the scoresheet. He was also busy on defence, and made big carries. The way he swerved through Shark defenders for his brace was sensational. What a loss he will be for Province rugby.
Dillyn Leyds 7: His finishing as he dived over in the corner for his try was on point. He made a few fine runs and added a linebreak or two.
Robert du Preez 7.5: He again showed his ability to get over the gain line with ball in hand. One poor pass that was snatched up by Louis Schreuder early on and almost caused trouble. Missed a couple of shots at goal, but not much more could be asked of his general contribution. Also won a great turnover after a Bosch break in the second half.
Dewaldt Duvenage 6.5: His service couldn’t be faulted.
Nizaam Carr 8: He’s been huge this season and the final was no different. The Sharks were praised for their huge defence when they held the ball up and prevented Carr from scoring a try. But what about how Carr managed to power his way through a number of Sharks to get to the try line? And his cut through the blind side after the scrum before offloading to Cobus Wiese was just plain brilliant. Great work when he snatched a restart from right under Van Wyk’s nose. Lost the ball forward early in the second half.
Cobus Wiese 6.5: Missed a tackle in the build-up to the first Sharks try, but he also made a couple of dominant tackles. Also gained some metres with ball in hand. Oh, I also have to commend him for how sneakily he managed to grab onto Schreuder’s shorts and pull him back while they were shoving forward at a scrum in the second quarter effectively preventing the scrumhalf from moving around the scrum. And he did all that while his head was facing directly forward. Talk about spatial awareness.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe 6.5: Okay, so he wasn’t as big as he was against the Golden Lions. But still who said all he could do is offload and step?
JD Schickerling 7: He tackled well and added a few dominant hits to his name yet again ... just like he’s been doing all season. Also carried well.
Chris van Zyl 6: His first two kick-off retrieves were poor, but you also have to question the support in the lift that added to the skipper failing to get a solid grip on the ball (plus the pressure from the Sharks chasers). Lost one lineout ball. Made a lot of tackles.
Wilco Louw 8.5: Wilco Louw’s scrummaging ... that is all. No more needs to be said.
Bongi Mbonambi 7: If you look at the intent he played (like with his work on defence and his carrying), he could almost be forgiven for that unnecessary charge on Dan du Preez.
JC Janse van Rensburg 6: Judging how WP's scrums went, he can’t exactly be scored badly, isn’t it?