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Team of the Week: Tough choices

Mon, 27 May 2013 13:56
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Five players return
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The Cheetahs may dominate our weekly selection, but that does not reflect the many tough choices we had to make this week.

There are six Cheetahs in the starting XV of our famous weekly selection - with the Rebels, Stormers and Sharks (two) each the next best.

The Highlanders, Western Force and Bulls (one each) make up the numbers.

The Chiefs, although not getting a single start, dominate our back-up squad - four of their players bubbling under.

The Brumbies and Stormers (three each) are next best, while the Force, Reds, Cheetahs, Rebels and Sharks (one each) make up the numbers.

Five players returns from last week - scrumhalf Piet van Zyl (Cheetahs), flanks Pieter Labuschagné (Cheetahs) and Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), lock Eben Etzebeth (Stormers - although he was at No.4 last week and at No.5 this week), as well as hooker Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs).

Team of the Week - Round 15:

15 - Ben Smith (Highlanders):
There are two telling sets of statistics from this match - he kicked 11 times for 383 metres gained, while he ran six times for 117 metres gained.
Bubbling under: Jayden Hayward (Western Force)

14 - Tom English (Rebels):
His two tries, in the ninth and 75th minutes, were already crucial. Add to that two line-breaks, four tackles and two turnovers and you begin to realise his value in a narrow win by the Rebels.
Bubbling under: Rod Davies (Reds)

13 - Jean de Villiers (Stormers):
It may have slipped the attention of some pundits (read: the Jean de Villiers critics), but he has been in great form recently and his match-winning try at the weekend was just reward for another great game. We forgive him his one missed tackle.
Bubbling under: Johann Sadie (Cheetahs)

12 - Kyle Godwin (Western Force):
He has long been touted as the next great playmaker in Perth and at the weekend he gave a glimpse of that talent - a tackle count well into double figures to go with his seven runs and one crucial line-break.
Bubbling under: Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies)

11 - Willie le Roux (Cheetahs):
He has become the Cheetahs' 'Energizer Bunny' and there's good reason why he is in the Springbok training squad. The telling stats from this past weekend is two line-breaks and two try-assists.
Bubbling under: Bryan Habana (Stormers)

10 - Morné Steyn (Bulls):
It was a tough call and some heated debate. We'll let the stats speak for themselves - Morné Steyn played 80 minutes, made seven tackles, kicked 17 times (for 780 metres gained at an average of 46 metres per kick), had just one run, three turnover and missed one tackle; Aaron Cruden played 80 minutes, made three tackles, kicked 11 times (409 metres gained at 37 metres per kick), five runs, one turnover and missed three tackles.
Bubbling under: Aaron Cruden (Chiefs)

9 - Piet van Zyl (Cheetahs):
His kicking game has come on in leaps and bounds, but it is still his running game and those line-breaks that makes him so valuable to the Cheetahs.
Bubbling under: Nic White (Brumbies)

8 - Scott Higginbotham (Rebels):
It may be his tackle count, runs and work at the breakdown that impress most pundits, but there was also a very telling kick out of hand and a great line-break.
Bubbling under: Nizaam Carr (Stormers)

7 - Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs):
He is, by some distance, the player with the most tackles made in the competition and the only one over 200 after his 20 this past weekend. Now add his nine ball carries (for 70 metres gained) and you know why he is our first choice.
Bubbling under: Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels)

6 - Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs):
While most people will still judge him by his turnover (or lack there-off), it is his work on defence that is really impressive.
Bubbling under: Siya Kolisi (Stormers)

5 - Eben Etzebeth (Stormers):
He showed he can solve Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer's headache at No.5 - apart from his 16 tackles, five carries numerous breakdowns he attended, there were seven line-out wins (six on his own throw and one poached).
Bubbling under: Brodie Retallick (Chiefs)

4 - Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks):
The energy he brings to a team will make him a perfect partner for Eben Etzebeth at Test level. And he is not too shabby in the line-outs either.
Bubbling under: Craig Clarke (Chiefs)

3 - Jannie du Plessis (Sharks):
Gave Dean Greyling a torrid time and showed why he is still South Africa's premier tighthead.
Bubbling under: Ben Tameifuna (Chiefs)

2 - Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs):
He may not have the high tackle count of some of his teammates, but he ball-in-hand play and work at the breakdown is what set him apart.
Bubbling under: Stephen Moore (Brumbies)

1 - Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs):
His high tackle count (13), numerous carries (14 for 60 metres gained) and work at the breakdown (14 rucks attended) won him our vote.
Bubbling under: Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks)

Our individual selections:

Nick Tatham XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Willie Le Roux, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Nic Henderson.

Michael de Vries XV:  15 Ben Smith, 14 Tom English, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Sekope Kefu, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.

Quintin van Jaarsveld XV: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Tom English, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.

Leonard Kaplan XV: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Johann Sadie 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Nic White, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pauliasi Manu.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom English, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Willie le Roux, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Eben Etzebeth, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.

Previous selections:

Team of the Week - Round 14: 15 Riaan Viljoen (Sharks), 14 Peter Betham (Waratahs), 13 JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls), 12 Jan Serfontein (Bulls), 11 Digby Ioane (Reds), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 Piet van Zyl (Cheetahs), 8 Kieran read (Crusaders), 7 Pieter Labuschagné (Cheetahs), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 4 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 3 Ben Afeaki (Chiefs), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (Sharks).

Team of the Week - Round 13: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Frank Halai (Blues), 13 Rene Ranger (Blues), 12 Francis Saili (Blues), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Quade Cooper (Reds), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Cornell du Preez (Southern Kings), 7 Luke Watson (Southern Kings), 6 Dave Dennis (Waratahs), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes), 3 Ben Afeaki (Chiefs), 2 Bandise Maku (Southern Kings), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs).

Team of the Week - Round 12: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Cam Crawford (Waratahs), 13 JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls), 12 Jean de Villiers (Stormers), 11 Digby Ioane (Reds), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 Andy Ellis (Crusaders), 8 Scott Higginbotham (Rebels), 7 Chris Alcock (Western Force), 6 Steven Luatua (Blues), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks), 3 Ben Tameifuna (Chiefs), 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), 1 Dean Greyling (Bulls).

Team of the Week - Round 11: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 13 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs), 12 Jan Serfontein (Bulls), 11 Bryan Habana (Stormers), 10 Morné Steyn (Bulls), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Lubabalo Mtembu (Sharks), 7 Arno Botha (Bulls), 6 Steven Luatua (Blues), 5 Andries Bekker (Stormers), 4 De Kock Steenkamp (Stormers), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), 1 Benn Robinson (Waratahs).

Team of the Week - Round 10: 15 Israel Folau (Waratahs), 14 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 13 Robbie Fruean (Crusaders), 12 Jan Serfontein (Bulls), 11 Digby Ioane (Reds), 10 Morné Steyn (Bulls), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 TJ Ioane (Highlanders), 7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 4 Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Hurricanes), 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs).

Team of the Week - Round Nine: 15 Charles Piutau (Blues), 14 Henry Speight (Brumbies), 13 Richard Kahui (Chiefs), 12 Jean de Villiers (Stormers), 11 Rene Ranger (Blues), 10 Quade Cooper (Reds), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Richard Brown (Western Force), 7 George Smith (Brumbies), 6 Steven Luatua (Blues), 5 Andries Bekker (Stormers), 4 Flip van der Merwe (Bulls), 3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), 1 Ben Franks (Hurricanes).

Team of the Week - Round Eight: 15 Hennie Daniller (Cheetahs), 14 Jason Woodward (Rebels), 13 Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), 12 Robert Ebersohn (Cheetahs), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Burton Francis (Cheetahs), 9 Piri Weepu (Blues), 8 Philip van der Walt (Cheetahs), 7 Wimpie van der Walt (Southern Kings), 6 Brad Shields (Hurricanes), 5 Ali Williams (Blues), 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 2 Kyle Cooper (Sharks), 1 Reg Goodes (Hurricanes).

Team of the Week - Round Seven: 15 Robbie Coleman (Brumbies), 14 Willie Le Roux (Cheetahs), 13 Richard Kahui (Chiefs), 12 Robert Ebersohn (Cheetahs), 11 Hosea Gear (Highlanders), 10 Tyler Blyendaal (Crusaders), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Phillip van der Walt (Cheetahs), 7 Matt Todd (Crusaders), 6 Brad Shields (Hurricanes), 5 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), 4 Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), 1 Scott Sio (Brumbies).

Team of the Week - Round Six: 15 Louis Ludik (Sharks), 14 Gio Aplon (Stormers), 13 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs), 12 Jean de Villiers (Stormers), 11 Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs), 10 Dan Carter (Crusaders), 9 Will Genia (Reds), 8 Kieran read (Crusaders), 7 Sam Cane (Chiefs), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Andries Bekker (Stormers), 4 Pieter Steph du Toit (Sharks), 3 Paddy Ryan (Waratahs), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

Team of the Week - Round Five: 15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), 14 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 13 Robbie Fruean (Crusaders), 12 Robert Ebersohn (Cheetahs), 11 Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs), 10 Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), 9 Alby Mathewson (Western Force), 8 Kieran Read (Crusaders), 7 George Smith (Brumbies), 6 Heinrich Brüssow (Cheetahs), 5 Hugh McMeniman (Western Force), 4 Peter Kimlin (Brumbies), 3 Owen Franks (Crusaders), 2 Hika Elliot (Chiefs), 1- Ben Franks (Hurricanes).

Team of the Week - Round Four: 15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), 14 Akona Ndungane (Bulls), 13 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs), 12 Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies), 11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes), 10 Johan Goosen (Cheetahs), 9 Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs), 8 Pierre Spies (Bulls), 7 Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs), 6 Siya Kolisi (Stormers), 5 Andries Bekker (Stormers), 4 Flip van der Merwe (Bulls), 3 Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), 2 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), 1 Ben Franks (Hurricanes).

Team of the Week - Round Three: 15 Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs), 14 Frank Halai (Blues), 13 Rene Ranger (Blues), 12 Francois Steyn (Sharks), 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma (Chiefs), 10 Chris Noakes (Blues), 9 Piri Weepu (Blues), 8 Kieran Read (Crusaders), 7 Luke Braid (Blues), 6 Liam Messam (Chiefs), 5 Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), 4 Rob Simmons (Reds), 3 Ben Afeaki (Chiefs), 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).

Team of the Week - Round Two: 15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), 14 Sergeal Petersen (Southern Kings), 13 Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs), 12 Francis Saili (Blues), 11 Hosea Gear (Highlanders), 10 Patrick Lambie (Sharks), 9 Piri Weepu (Blues), 8 Pierre Spies (Bulls), 7 Marcell Coetzee (Sharks), 6 Eddie Quirk (Reds), 5 Steven Sykes (Kings), 4 Craig Clarke (Chiefs), 3 Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), 2 Bandise Maku (Kings), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks)

Team of the Week - Round One: 15 Jesse Mogg (Brumbies), 14 Henry Speight (Brumbies), 13 Andrew Smith (Brumbies), 12 Kyle Godwin (Western Force), 11 Alfie Mafi (Western Force), 10 Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels), 9 Nic White (Brumbies), 8 Ben Mowen (Western Force), 7 David Pocock (Brumbies), 6 Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels), 5 Toby Lynn (Western Force), 4 Hugh Pyle (Melbourne Rebels), 3 Laurie Weeks (Melbourne Rebels), 2 Stephen Moore (Brumbies), 1 Ben Alexander (Brumbies).

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