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Stormers, Bulls players dominate URC Team SA

Evan Roos of Stormers celebrates winning the Vodacom United Rugby Championship. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Evan Roos of Stormers celebrates winning the Vodacom United Rugby Championship. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Jun 21, 2022

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Cape Town - South Africa had both finalists in the United Rugby Championship (URC) in the Stormers and Bulls, while the Sharks also reached the quarter-finals in the first season of this competition.

Leinster’s four successive titles made them immediate favourites, but Jake White’s Bulls knocked them over in Dublin, and then

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John Dobson’s Stormers pulled off a thrilling 18-13 triumph to finally end the Cape side’s drought in international competitions.

So, the time is right to pick a South African team of the tournament. This is not meant to be a Springbok side that could take on the All Blacks tomorrow, but rather to showcase those players who had outstanding URC seasons …

15 Warrick Gelant (Stormers)

This was arguably the closest call to make, as both players were immense for their respective sides, and both also had injury layoffs. But Gelant’s contribution to the Stormers was just a bit more impactful, with a dizzying mix of grubbers, line-breaks, and high-ball catches.

Honourable mention: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls)

14 Madosh Tambwe (Bulls)

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Yes, Tambwe played left wing for most of the season, but he couldn’t be left out. He scored eight tries to Senatla’s nine, but was lethal whenever he got the ball, made some big hits in defence and was solid under the high ball. Honourable mention: Seabelo Senatla (Stormers)

13 Ruhan Nel (Stormers)

Lukhanyo Am was a strong candidate too, but his mid-season stint in Japan meant that he missed a good chuck of the Sharks’ campaign. Nel has been consistently good throughout for the Stormers, with his ball-carries being a physical element to the attack, while he is a strong defender too. Honourable mention: Cornal Hendricks (Bulls)

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12 Damian Willemse (Stormers)

Willemse has finally found his spot at inside centre. He played through the pain from a fractured elbow in the semi-final and final, and didn’t hold back one bit. The hop and skip is still there at times, but he takes on the defence with relish and gets stuck in with his tackles too. Honourable mention: Harold Vorster (Bulls)

11 Leolin Zas (Stormers)

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Zas was the joint-top try-scorer with 11, along with Marcell Coetzee, and was a powerful force out wide. A real pity that he had to miss the final due to injury.

Honourable mention: Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks)

10 Manie Libbok (Stormers)

Not only was Libbok the top pointsscorer (163), he made the Stormers attack tick, along with Gelant and Willemse. Capable of throwing a long pass, offload in the tackle and kick with both feet. Handled the pressure well in the semi-final and final with a late conversion and drop goal.

Honourable mention: Chris Smith (Bulls)

9 Morné van den Berg (Lions)

This may be a surprise call for some, but Van den Berg was a livewire for the Lions when he eventually got his chance to start. He made things happen on attack, was relentless in defence and a good kicker. Honourable mention: Zak Burger (Bulls)

8 Evan Roos (Stormers)

Arguably the Player of the Tournament. The new Stormers superstar in the mould of Bob Skinstad. Roos is all action all the time. A giant with ball-in-hand, and able to knock ball-carriers back too.

Honourable mention: Elrigh Louw (Bulls)

7 Vincent Tshituka (Lions)

Won countless Man of the Match awards for his consistent displays. Tshituka was a giant on attack, getting over the advantage line, and ruthless with his tackles. Honourable mention: Hacjivah Dayimani (Stormers)

6 Marcell Coetzee (Bulls)

The Bulls flank took his game to the next level this season with his attacking play. He didn’t just charge into opponents, but spun around and got his passes away, which saw him top the offload stats. Worked hard at the breakdowns too. Honourable mention: Deon Fourie (Stormers)

5 Ruan Nortje (Bulls)

Nortje is fast becoming the next Victor Matfield. He ruled the lineout skies, winning his own ball and stealing the opposition throw-ins. But he was dynamic on attack too, carrying strongly and as a support runner.

Honourable mention: Marvin Orie (Stormers)

4 Walt Steenkamp (Bulls)

After a slow start, Steenkamp became increasingly influential in the lineouts and as a ball-carrier, and was outstanding against Leinster in the semi-final.

Honourable mention: Gerbrandt Grobler (Sharks)

3 Thomas du Toit (Sharks)

This was Du Toit’s best season at the Sharks. A giant in the scrums, a higher work-rate in the tight-loose and also took over the captaincy when Am left for Japan. Honourable mention: Carlu Sadie (Lions)

2 Johan Grobbelaar (Bulls)

He didn’t quite reach the heights of last season initially, but over the last few weeks, Grobbelaar was excellent with his line-out throws, breakdown work and as a ball-carrier. Honourable mention: Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks)

1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)

He was solid without being spectacular for most of the season, but had a big semi-final and final, combining his effective scrum-work with strong ball-carries and vital breakdown turnovers.

Honourable mention: Ox Nche (Sharks)

@AshfakMohamed

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