Stormers rock the Rainbow Cup
Round Three of the Rainbow Cup threw up some amazing games and a total of 451 points, at an average of 56 points per match with no less than 54 tries.
There are my Stats for the week right there!
Benetton and the Bulls lead the Northern and Southern Hemisphere tables respectively with the former somewhat surprisingly unbeaten after three matches.
There were too many brilliant individual performances to put into one team and this week’s Holley’s Heroes was the most difficult one to choose to date.
At fullback, in the Lions versus Stormers classic there were fine performances from EW Viljoen and Damian Willemse, but my vote goes to Glasgow’s returning Adam Hastings whose 11 carries at an average of over 10 metres a carry, 6 defenders beaten plus a very important try gets him in the team.
Two tries from Dragons in form Jonah Holmes wasn’t enough to get him selected as two South Africans fill the flanks. Stravino Jacobs of the Bulls helped them to an emphatic win carrying for over 17 metres a carry plus he added a try. Stormers speedster Edwill van der Merwe will be one to watch next season as he beat 11 defenders and carried for 129 metres and added a try.
He’s my Back of the week.
In the midfield, Lions squad member Robbie Henshaw might consider himself lucky to finish the match after a controversial tackle on Ulster’s Robert Balacoune, but his Player of the Match accolade and match-winning try gets him selected alongside two try Stormers centre Daniel du Plessis.
In the flyhalf position, under serious pressure from the ageless Morne Steyn of the Bulls and the Lions’ prolific Player of the Match Jordan Hendrikse, this week’s No.10 shirt goes to Jarrod Evans of the Cardiff Blues for a fine all-round attacking, kicking and defensive display in front of Wales Coach Wayne Pivac in the win at the Scarlets.
Another young Welshman makes it in at scrumhalf – Reuben Morgan-Williams of the Ospreys scored a brilliant individual try and created another for wing Dewi Cross, both at crucial times in the match with the Dragons.
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Up front there was an amazing second half contribution from Bulls replacement loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka, who only came on at half-time but manage to amass a try and 12 carries.
On the tighthead side, Stormers and Springbok prop Frans Malherbe looks to be timing his form in time for the British & Irish Lions tour with a solid set-piece job plus 10 tackles.
At hooker, Glasgow Warriors George Turner won the Player of the Match against his former team Edinburgh scoring a vital try from a tap penalty after 13 carries and eight tackles.
He’s my Forward of the Week, as Turner’s team did the double over their closest rivals in the space of a week.
In the lock positions Benetton’s Sebastian Negri topped the tackle charts in the Italian derby win, and he is partnered by this week’s Holley’s Hero – Niall Murray of Connacht.
His 20 tackles at a 95 percent completion rate went a long way to helping his side to a famous win at Munster with Murray picking up the Player of the Match in this bruising encounter.
Another Connacht hero makes the No.6 shirt for his tireless 25 tackles – the most in the match – and that’s Cian Prendergast.
There was a similar all action display from Glasgow’s Rory Darge with 14 carries and 17 tackles and he’s in at No.7.
Both flanks are joined by young Ospreys No.8 Morgan Morris, who continues to impress as he was the top carrier in their match, carried the most metres for a forward and added a try.
Team of the Week
15 – Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors)
14 – Edwill van der Merwe (Stormers)
13 – Daniel du Plessis (Stormers)
12 – Robbie Henshaw (Leinster)
11 – Stravino Jacobs (Bulls)
10 – Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues)
9 – Rueben Morgan-Williams (Ospreys)
8 – Morgan Morris (Ospreys)
7 – Rory Darge (Glasgow)
6 – Cian Prendergast (Connacht)
5 – Niall Murray (Connacht)
4 – Sebastian Negri (Benetton)
3 – Frans Malherbe (Stormers)
2 – George Turner (Glasgow Warriors)
1 – Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls)
By Sean Holley, @PRO14Official