Home Sport What we learnt from the weekend’s URC action

What we learnt from the weekend’s URC action

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We take a look at the weekend’s action from the United Rugby Championship, and what the remainder of the competition has in store for the South African teams.

Lions centre Wandisile Simelane was in fine form during their United Rugby Championship clash against Connacht on Saturday. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

By Ashfak Mohamed, Morgan Bolton, Mike Greenaway and Wynona Louw

THE SOUTH African teams have found top gear in the United Rugby Championship, with the Stormers, Sharks and Bulls impressing over the weekend.

We take a look at the weekend’s action, and what the remainder of the competition has in store for the South African teams in its inaugural season.

BULLS: Glorious to watch, yet still points to prove

It took a while before the Bulls were able to match the intensity brought by Benetton, and teams such as Leinster, Stormers and Munster won’t allow them back into the contest.

But when they do get their attacking game going, it is glorious to watch. They can go up the middle with the forwards, out wide with their backs and apply pressure with their kicking game. And I will say it again: Ruan Nortje must be a Springbok in 2022.

One bugbear is the amount of points they are leaking. It was 29 against Benetton, and the Bulls have conceded the most out of the top-eight sides: 340. – Ashfak Mohamed

LIONS: Wandi magic is back

The Tshituka Brothers have rightfully had tongues-a-wagging this year with some seriously impressive performances for the Joburgers. This past weekend, in their loss to Connacht, it was younger brother Emmanuel’s chance to be awarded Man of the Match honours.

As awesome as they have been, arguably the most pleasing aspect in the last few weeks has been the return to form of outside-centre Wandisile Siemlane. The 24-year-old can sometimes get lost when the going gets tough, which belies his natural talent to inspire his team and help overturn negative play into something wonderful. He is the Lions’ X-factor player after all, so it was great to see him dance his way through the game, even when his team was on the backfoot. – Morgan Bolton

SHARKS: Look to Leinster for inspiration

While Leinster were not at full strength, they still packed a punch against the Sharks, who had to hang on for dear life for the win at Kings Park, and that strength in depth in the Irish team explains why they win so many trophies.

South Africa’s teams need to aspire to that quality of depth if they aim to win the URC, especially next year when some of them will be involved in both the URC and the Champions Cup, never mind the Currie Cup. – Mike Greenaway

STORMERS: Willemse and Gelant … so hot right now

While Rassie Erasmus publicly acknowledged the devastating Evan Roos after another outstanding performance against Glasgow Warriors, another thing that couldn’t possibly have been missed by the Bok coaching staff at the weekend is the form of the Stormers fullbacks.

Damian Willemse was next-level good in a Man of the Match outing, while Warrick Gelant – in his first game in almost a month – looked like he never missed a single run-out. Yes, there is still Willie le Roux and Aphelele Fassi in the Bok frame, but the way the Stormers duo have been going – with Willemse particularly impressive – they are the ones to beat for that green and gold No 15 jumper. – Wynona Louw

URC: SA’s Best XV of the week

Morgan Bolton’s Best XV: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Warrick Gelant, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Hacjivah Dayimani, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Marvin Orie 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Mike Greenaway’s Best XV: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marcel Coetzee, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Marvin Orie 3, Thomas du Toit, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Ashfak Mohamed’s Best XV: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Vincent Tshituka 6 Marcell Coetzee 5 Ruan Nortje 4 Gerbrandt Grobler 3 Frans Malherbe 2 Johan Grobbelaar 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Wynona Louw’s Best XV: 15 Damian Willemse ,14 Warrick Gelant, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff

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