Team of the Tournament: Final fling
It required some considerable debate, but our esteemed panel of 'selectors' came up with what we believe to be the best team.
It required some considerable debate, but our esteemed panel of 'selectors' came up with what we believe to be the best selection.
It has to be remembered that this is indeed a Team of the Tournament, not the team based on the Currie Cup Final - won emphatically, 33-19, by the Sharks.
Some players who came into the tournament at the back-end of the season may have just lost out.
That means while Bismarck du Plessis may well be the best hooker in the country, he may not have played enough Currie Cup games to unseat Siyabonga Ntubeni.
Same goes for a Pieter-Steph du Toit, who spent considerable more time on national duty than with the Sharks, as well as one of the stars of the Final, Patrick Lambie.
Western Province, despite losing in the Final, and the Lions provide the most members of our starting XV - four each.
The champions, the Sharks, and the Free State Cheetahs are not far behind with three each. Griquas fill the remaining spot in our first-choice selection.
The Sharks and WP have four each in our back-up squad, the Lions and Cheetahs three each, with Griquas again making up the numbers.
Now spot the missing 'link'...
Team of the Tournament:
15 - Gio Aplon (Western Province):
He got a new lease on life this season and even being on the wrong side of 30 he looked like a spring chicken again.
Bubbling under: SP Marais (Sharks)
14 - Odwa Ndungane (Sharks):
Bubbling under: Gerhard van den Heever (Western Province)
13 - Johann Sadie (Free State Cheetahs):
He came along in leaps and bounds this season and finally lived up to the promise he showed before leaving Cape Town and Pretoria out of frustration.
Bubbling under: Tim Whitehead (Sharks)
12 - Robert Ebersohn (Free State Cheetahs):
The skills he acquired on the international Sevens stage came in very handy, especially in the tackle and breakdown areas.
Bubbling under: Howard Mnisi (Griquas)
11 - Cheslin Kolbe (Western Province):
One of the bright new stars on the domestic landscape. Big things expected of him.
Bubbling under: Anthony Volmink (Golden Lions)
10 - Marnitz Boshoff (Golden Lions):
He always managed to conjure up some sublime tries for the Lions, even playing at fullback. However, it was at flyhalf where he produced he best performances.
Bubbling under: Elgar Watts (Free State Cheetahs)
9 - Charl McLeod (Sharks):
He was consistently among the best, but sealed his place with his stand-out performance in the Final.
Bubbling under: Sarel Pretorius (Free State Cheetahs)
8 - Keegan Daniel (Sharks):
It was a close call, but Daniel edged Willie Britz based on his contribution in the Final.
Bubbling under: Willie Britz (Golden Lions)
7 - Derick Minnie (Golden Lions):
The captaincy did him the world of good and he was consistently on top of his game.
Bubbling under: Pieter Labuschagne (Free State Cheetahs)
6 - Deon Fourie (Western Province):
He may not have had his best day at the office in the Final, but throughout the season he was consistently the best.
Bubbling under: Jaco Kriel (Golden Lions)
5 - Franco van der Merwe (Golden Lions):
He got his just rewards when he finally earned his Springbok cap in the Rugby Championship. Another player that is the epitome of consistency.
Bubbling under: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks)
4 - Lodewyk de Jager (Free State Cheetahs):
He played at both No.5 and No.4 for the Cheetahs this season, but we opted to select him at No.4.
Bubbling under: Michael Rhodes (Western Province)
3 - Lourens Adriaanse (Griquas):
He was in and out of the Bok squad, but when with Griquas his influence on their game was immediately visible.
Bubbling under: Pat Cilliers (Western Province)
2 - Siyabonga Ntubeni (Western Province):
Despite his lack of size, he mixed it with the best of them. We will forgive him his performance in the Final - a rare off day.
Bubbling under: Kyle Cooper (Sharks)
1 - CJ van der Linde (Golden Lions):
There is plenty of life left in the veteran Bok's old legs. He edged Steven Kitshoff as a result of the latter's high penalty count throughout the season.
Bubbling under: Steven Kitshoff (Western Province)
Our individual selections:
Paul Dobson XV: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Quintin van Jaarsveld XV: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Michael de Vries XV: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Johan Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Jan de Koning XV: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 CJ van der Linde.