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Saturday, April 1, 2023

Five standout players from the Stormers’ hammering of the Sharks

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Cape Town — The Stormers continued their stranglehold on South African opposition in the United Rugby Championship (URC) this past weekend after handing a heavy defeat to the Sharks in Durban.

It’s now four wins over their compatriots with two against the Lions and one apiece versus the Bulls and the Sharks.

IOL Sport’s Leighton Koopman takes a look at five standout players from the clash between the Sharks and Stormers.

Fiery Fourie leads from the front

Deon Fourie seems to turn father time back every moment he gets to spend on the rugby field.

Earlier in the week he said Kingsp Park holds fond memories for him after winning the Currie Cup there a decade ago. On Saturday he played another warrior role leading his team to a 46-19 victory.

He was ever-present around the rucks and milked a couple of important penalties when the Sharks were pinged for holding on. The way he dealt with Sharks scrumhalf Cameron Wright, with a few open-handed smacks, early in the match after the latter held him back at a ruck, also showed that he was not going to be intimidated.

Manie on the money

He had a Jekyll and Hyde performance but the good Manie Libbok far outweighed the missed opportunities on the day. Almost every time he ran with the ball, the Sharks were in trouble as he wreaked havoc when given an inch of space.

The way he accelerated into space after selling Sharks lock Hyron Andrews with a big dummy led to the first try of the match not even two minutes after kick-off.

He missed an easy conversion and comically botched a try when he was tackled from behind by Curwin Bosch. But a 50-meter penalty at sea level and his own try after some quick thinking when the Sharks dropped the ball, rounded off a Man of the Match performance.

Sizzling Senatla back with a bang

The way Seabelo Senatla celebrated his try, shows what the return from injury means to him.

And he kept his promise when he said he will be firing on all cylinders against the Sharks. He looked dangerous every time he touched the ball but also made sure he got through the hard work by making his tackles and competing at the breakdown.

His intelligent play, to give the ball to Suleiman Hartzenberg, to score when he toed a ball through, also shows his awareness on the field and unselfishness to let the player in a better position score.

He could’ve easily sprinted through for his second try but found his wingmate after another brilliant counter-attack from inside their 22m.

Ruben van Heerden’s value is invaluable

The Stormers were in a predicament at lock before the bulky second rower arrived in Cape Town.

He hasn’t played at the DHL Stadium for the Stormers but what a welcome back he got to the Shark Tank where he plied his trade before heading overseas.

And what a bump on poor Andrews to score his first Stormers try and help his new team get a win over his former side.

The way he carried the ball into contact to get his team front-foot ball and the ferocious tackling helped to nullify the Sharks on the attack.

Theunissen grabbing his chances

Another tireless effort by Marcel Theunissen, who this week had to slot in at No 8 for his team. It does not matter the position he has to play, he delivers.

Did the hard yards with his carries and although his body took a lot of big blows, he continued to get up to soldier on. He also put his body on the line helping the Stormers maintain a tackle success rate of 92%.

He controlled the ball brilliantly at the back of the scrum every time the Stormers pack sent the Sharks in reverse gear.

Theunissen is making a good case for himself to be picked week-in and week-out even when the top Stormers loose forwards are back later this month.


IOL Sport

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