DURBAN - The Stormers edged the Sharks in an unappealing Rainbow Cup match in Durban at the weekend but the real winner was South African rugby after stellar performances by key Boks in Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit.
As the British and Irish Lions tour draws closer, the form of senior players who are expected to lead the way for the Boks comes under scrutiny, and after this weekend Bok coach Jacques Nienaber will be sleeping a little easier.
Kolisi had his best game by some margin since his comeback two months ago while Du Toit’s already impressive comeback from serious injury went up another notch as he earned the Man of the Mach award in his team’s 25-22 victory.
Sharks coach Sean Everitt said Kolisi’s form is gathering momentum at the right time for the Springboks.
“Siya was really good. He got two steals and he had two big moments in a row in the build up to Yaw Penxe’s try (breaking through a tackle and making a neat pass to set up Penxe). He had a good week, and he is getting better and better, and he deserves it because he is working really hard.”
Everitt’s counterpart, John Dobson, had rested Du Toit for his team’s win over the Lions the previous week in accordance with Springbok protocols, and the World Player for the Year for 2019 came back with a powerhouse performance, including a fine try where he charged 20m to the line.
“He is a remarkable machine — 80 minutes of that from him is great for South African rugby.
“We are very, very proud of him,” Dobson enthused.
“I would suggest that he was even better than his performances against the Sharks and Bulls in our home games,” Dobson added.
“It’s like he was never injured. That was also true in the first game against the Sharks at Cape Town Stadium. I think it is brilliant that he won Man of the Match.”
Everitt agreed with Dobson that the greater South African rugby picture is better after the weekend’s action, which included World Cup No 8 Duane Vermeulen delivering a barnstorming performance for the Bulls in their loss to the Lions.
“SA Rugby is definitely in a good place,” Everitt said.