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FULL-TIME: Who and What Stole the Show – Super Rugby Week 13

It was a weekend where the Bulls got flattened at Loftus, the Sharks let it slip at the death in Hamilton and the Lions sneaked a win in a game of touch rugby at Emirates Airline Park. Here are the talking points from week 13 of Super Rugby.

GAME OF THE WEEKEND

Blues v Hurricanes
The Lions and Waratahs combined to give us a first half of rugby which resembled a game of touch rugby rather than top quality Super Rugby. The Crusaders put on a clinic at Loftus but in terms of drama and intrigue this Kiwi derby gets the vote. The Laumape vs Nonu battle was a thing of beauty.

BEST TRY OF THE ROUND

There was some good prop action in the Rebels vs Reds game, the best of them came after Billy Meakes and Reece Hodge combined to cut open the Reds defence from halfway. The recycled ball found loosehead prop Fualkner charging down the left tramline to get over in the corner. My try of the round goes to one of Sevu Reece’s five pointers. Richie Mo’unga doubled up on cross kicks within the same passage of play. His second pin-point effort found the right winger who securely gathered and score – talk about having the ball on a string!

MVP

It should come as no surprise that comfortably the two worst Crusaders performances have come when Richie Mo’unga has been out. The All Black flyhalf scored two tries himself and was very much in the middle of creating plenty of the opportunities which eventually saw the men from Christchurch dismantle the Bulls at Loftus. Playing against the Springbok pivot, Handré Pollard, he completely overshadowed his direct opponent in a performance of pure class.

SA TEAM OF ROUND 13
1. Dylan Smith (Lions)
Played a little cameo off the bench for the Lions bringing an impact in the scrum and as ball carrier. Thomas du Toit had a strong start for the Sharks before he had to leave the field early.

2. Malcolm Marx (Lions)
Was his usual free-roaming, barnstorming self for the Lions.

3. Coenie Oosthuizen (Sharks)
Oosthuizen put in huge shift for his side and really rolled up his sleeves with this performance.

4. Stephan Lewies (Lions)
Good, solid all-round effort from the Lions number four across the park.

5. Ruan Botha (Sharks)
Was a performance of grit and grind from the Sharks stalwart. Rolled his sleeves up in making 16 tackles and worked hard in the loose, adding some good physicality.

6. Kwagga Smith (Lions)
Constantly a willing carrier Kwagga is always all heart.

7. Jean-luc du Preez (Sharks)
A bit of a default pick this week. Kirsten and Tshituka both put in honest efforts but JL’s physical impact is imperative to the Sharks.

8. Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)
Vermeulen was one of the few Bulls who clearly left it all on the green grass of Loftus on Friday night. With the Crusaders running his team to shreds the big number eight was left to try and desperately plug the gaps and steel a handful of balls at the tackle area. He managed this despite it not helping much to the final outcome.

9. Embrose Papier (Bulls)
The little youngster came off the bench in the final quarter at Loftus and was like a breath of fresh air as he supplied some energy and spark to what was a lacklustre showing on the day.

10. Curwin Bosh (Sharks)
Polished showing from the young pivot (despite only doing duty for about 50 minutes). The Sharks backs weren’t exactly carving up their Kiwi hosts but he controlled matters well and kicked crucial goals. Pollard didn’t have his best day out against the Tahs and Jantjies’ decision making in terms of when to attack and when to revert to a more controlled, tactical game is sorely lacking.

11. Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions)
Getting back to his best as the Lions open game suits him like a glove.

12. Harold Vorster (Lions)
None of the Lions impressed with their defencive efforts but Vorster found himself in space often and also put his team mates around him into gaps on a number of occasions. Burger Odendaal kept trucking impressively.

13. Lukhanyo Am (Sharks)
Kotze missed three tackles and the Lions midfield was also too fragile. He didn’t shine as brightly as he often does but Am was steady for the Sharks.

14. Sibusiso Nkosi (Sharks)
Part of what looked a lethal Sharks back three. Often ran the ball back at the Chiefs with good success. The Springbok management can start sewing his name into the Bok No. 14 shirt.

15. Aphelele Fassi (Sharks)
A performance beyond his years. Solid under the highball. Showed his big boot on occasion and left a few defenders in his wake when he went on some runs from the back. Quality performance from the youngster in a breakthrough Super Rugby year.

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