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Player ratings: Defence wins trophies

OPINION: The Pumas wrote a new chapter in the Currie Cup history, becoming only the eighth team to win South Africa’s most prized domestic trophy.


Their 26-19 win over a willing and never-say-die Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday ensured they won Sir Donald Currie’s donation for the first time in their history.

It is a true Cinderella story and the first time in history that a team finishing fourth in the standings and playing all their knock-out matches away from home won the Grand Prize!

It was a win based on brutal, near impenetrable defence – with only a handful of missed tackles the entire match.

Jan de Koning rates the Pumas payers!

15 Devon Williams
Nervous start, but settled down to produce an accomplished showing. Had a try rubbed out for a forward pass, but was full value for his team.

14 Tapiwa Mafura
He stood his ground on defence and won a crucial turnover in the second half. Not many chances on attack, but very few errors.


13 Sebastian de Klerk
Showed his class, despite limited first-half chances. Penalised for a couple of ‘high’ (seatbelt) tackles, but an accomplished performance.

12 Eddie Fouche
Not flawless, but accurate goal-kicking. Also some great out-of-hand kicking and great tactical appreciation.

11 Jade Stighling
Good kick-chasing and a couple great carries. Like his fellow wing, not many chances on attack.

10 Tinus de Beer
Good game management and some sublime passing – setting up the opening try for Devon Williams. Some powerful carries against his former teammates.


9 Chriswill September
Crisp service and some ferocious defence – including a great covering tackle in the second half. Was a great link between forwards and backs.

8 Andre Fouche
The bruising loose forward produced some bit hits and strong carries. Was penalised at the tackle on occasion, but has central to the Pumas dominating the collisions.

7 Willie Engelbrecht (captain)
Not the flashy loose forward display that wins awards, but doing the hard, dirty work in the dark places – including some really big hits. Was rewarded with a crucial try in the second half.

6 Daniel Maartens
Another of the Pumas’ understated loose forwards. Getting through a ton of work and being brutally physical ion the contact areas.

5 Shane Kirkwood
Showed his experience and some hard graft in the tight exchanges. His set piece work was also from the top shelve.

4 Deon Slabbert
One of the young pups of the team, having made his Pumas debut midway through the 2022 season. Based on an accomplished Final, there is a bright playing future ahead.

3 Ignatius Prinsloo
Penalised at scrum halfway through first half, but for most part stood his ground. He worked hard at the breakdown and had some strong carries.

2 Eduan Swart
His line-out throws not always accurate as it could have been and was penalised at tackles. However, he was powerful with ball in hand and scored a crucial try late in first half. Then also won a crucial turnover penalty five metres from his line midway through the second half.

1 Corne Fourie
Was penalised at and early line-out, but settled down and was a monster with ball in hand. Part of a very dominant pack.


16 Llewellyn Classen
Crucial steal inside last 10 minutes and won a vital penalty in his cameo.

17 Dewald Maritz
Did what was expected of him – stood solid in the scrums, made is tackles and kept the physical dominance.

18 Simon Raw
Another accomplished performance by a replacement forward. Nothing flash, just solid!

19 Kwanda Dimaza
Had a sublime cameo and ensured his pack continued their dominance in the collisions.

20 Francois Kleinhans
Another replacement that had an outstanding cameo that sealed the win.

21 Giovan Snyman
Perhaps not as flashy as September, but can’t fault his performance. Was caught behind a ruck once.

22 Ali Mgijima
Had a 10-minute cameo in which he ensured the defensive wall remained intact.

23 Alwayno Visagie
Came on with two minutes remaining and made one powerful carry. Not enough time to be rated.



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