The magic that is the Pumas season thus far can be seen in the fact that four of the pink players have been included in this week’s team. The Lions have three players in the side. Western Province, the Sharks and the Bulls have two apiece., while the Cheetahs and the Kings both have a single player in the team.
15 – SP Marais (Sharks):
It’s been a tempestuous season for the former Kings fullback, but he ticked all the boxes in his side’s loss to the Pumas in Nelspruit.
He was solid under the aerial attack and he kept probing with ball in hand.
Marais capped his performance with a fine finish to score a try. The performance may signal a turnaround in form for the game breaker.
Understudy: Cheslin Kolbe (Western Province)
14 – Kobus van Wyk (Western Province):
Van Wyk formed a dominant attacking axis with fellow Western Province back three members Cheslin Kolbe and Seabelo Senatla against the Bulls at Loftus.
It too has been a turbulent season for the Paarl Gymnasium old boy, but he may have turned the corner after a string of marginal gains in this year’s Currie Cup.
Van Wyk’s improvement has been most notable in his decision making. His try against the Bulls was an example of being able to judge when to keep the ball alive and when to finish off a move.
Understudy: Lionel Mapoe (Lions)
13 – Francois Venter (Cheetahs):
The midfielder is fast transforming himself into one of the most consistent performers in South African domestic rugby.
His complete performance against Griquas included off-loads, breaks and solid tackling.
Understudy: JW Jonker (Pumas)
12 – Stefan Watermeyer (Pumas):
The fulcrum of the Pumas challenge against the Sharks, Watermeyer showed exactly why he has been regarded so highly for such a long time.
Watermeyer was good value for his Man-of-the-Match award as he added variation to the attack, tackled with gusto and made sound tactical choices.
Watermeyer was a menacing presence on the park. And he posed a definite threat whenever he was close to the action.
Understudy: Jaco Taute (Western Province)
11 – Seabelo Senatla (Western Province):
The speedster put in another dazzling performance for the Streeptruie against the Bulls at Loftus. His recent conversion from the abbreviated code of the game promises to be one of the success stories of South African rugby.
Senatla drew praise for his work rate off the ball as well as for his attacking prowess.
Understudy: Rosco Speckman (Pumas).
10 – Justin van Staden (Pumas):
Van Staden has long been known for his solid goal-kicking but the Pumas pivot put in his most complete performance to date against the Sharks.
He kept his comprehensive kicking record intact against the Sharks, but he also caught the eye with decisive passing and a try of his own.
Understudy: Andries Coetzee (Lions)
9 – Kevin Luiters (Kings):
The halfback is fast becoming one of the form players in the Currie Cup.
He rarely puts a foot wrong, and he compliments it with flashes of flair. His pass can well be one of the best in the South African game.
Understudy: Conrad Hoffman (Sharks)
8 – Renaldo Bothma (Pumas):
The Pumas hardman once again displayed his full array of skills with a typically bruising performance in their victory over the Sharks.
Bothma is no one-trick pony – as he displayed his wares with ball in hand, on defence and at the break down.
Definitely a standout player for the men from the Stonehouse thus far. One can’t help but compare him to a young Duane Vermeulen.
Understudy: Jean Cook (Cheetahs).
7 – Jacques du Plessis (Bulls):
The towering loose forward isn’t only a threat in the lineout, but is increasingly becoming a presence in the other facets of the game as well.
He is a strong ball-carrier and he is starting to boss the breakdown as well.
Understudy: Jaco Kriel (Lions)
6 – Corne Steenkamp (Pumas):
The inspiring skipper has put his body on the line with aplomb for the men from Nelspruit this season.
He is a workhorse in the truest sense of the word – he moves in the shadows and does the hard yards for his team.
Steenkamp played a captain’s innings for the Pumas and made an overall nuisance of himself against the Sharks.
Understudy: Marnus Schoeman (Griquas).
5 – Franco Mostert (Lions):
The Lions second-rower built on what could be a breakout season for him.
He bossed the lineouts for Jozi’s pride and threw himself around the park. He also dotted down the bonus point try for the Lions.
Understudy: Giant Mtyanda (Pumas).
4 – Paul Willemse (Bulls):
Another consistent Currie Cup performer, Willemse performed admirably for the Bulls against WP.
He carried the ball 10 times, made 13 tackles and gained 43m from his carries. Willemse is an absolute workhorse.
Understudy: Frikkie Spies (Pumas)
3 – Matt Stevens (Sharks):
The former England front-rower proved that there is considerable bite to the bark that was made about his recent move to the Sharks.
He is an absolute giant in the scrum and the physical exchanges. A proper prop.
Understudy: Vincent Koch (Pumas)
2 – Akker van der Merwe (Lions):
The bustling hooker put in a commanding display against the Kings. He carried the ball 12 times amd gained 72m from those carries.
The sturdily built Van der Merwe adds energy to the game and seems to ignite a spark in his fellow forwards.
Understudy: Edgar Marutlulle (Kings)
1 – Schalk van der Merwe (Lions):
The man nicknamed Hond is fast becoming one of the most feared scrummers in the country.
Van der Merwe is yet to find his match in the scrum.
Understudy: Dale Chadwick (Sharks).
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Article source: http://citizen.co.za/237151/pumas-dominate-the-ratings/