United Rugby Championship Team of the Week: Mr ‘I’ll do it myself’ and playmaker in chief standout in Round 16

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) and Warrick Gelant (Stormers).

Split with Tadhg Beirne (Munster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) and Warrick Gelant (Stormers).

The United Rugby Championship is rapidly approaching the conclusion of the regular season with Round 16 of 18 in the books.

The weekend served up some brilliant action and high scores, we take a look at the top performers in our URC Team of the Week.

The lineup

15 Warrick Gelant (Stormers): The full-back was in sublime form against the Dragons and took playmaking duties into his own hands bagging three try assists including a sumptuous grubber assist for the flying Angelo Davids. Gelant always looks to make something happen with ball in hand and is vital for the Stormers in the last couple of games of the regular season. Veterans Simon Zebo (Munster) and Willie le Roux (Bulls) both had a brilliant game for their teams.

14 Jordan Larmour (Leinster): We move from a hat-trick of assists from Gelant to a hat-trick of tries from Larmour. The wing was outstanding and beat five defenders in his 15 carries. There were other good outings from Bulls sensation Canan Moodie and veteran Shark Werner Kok.

13 Alex Nankivell (Munster): He was voted as our signing of the season in the URC and he showed why yet again. The centre scored a try and nearly notched up 100 metres beating five defenders and making two clean breaks in the process. Nankivell is some player and beats Tommaso Menoncello (Benetton) and Stafford McDowall (Glasgow Warriors) to selection.

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12 Stuart McCloskey (Ulster): The centre had a real ‘I’ll do it myself’ attitude in the second half as he took matters into his own hands scoring a try and beating a ridiculous six defenders. He was one of the critical elements in Ulster getting the points so much so that the talented Leinsterman Jamie Osborne misses out.

11 Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster): While Larmour was bagging a hat-trick, O’Brien found himself scoring one try and setting up another two in a game where he ran just short of 150 metres with ball in hand with three clean breaks to match. It was one of the performances of the round and gets in ahead of Angelo Davids (Stormers), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls) and Duhan van der Merwe of Edinburgh who beat 11 defenders in his game.

10 Billy Burns (Ulster): There were solid fly-half efforts from Siya Masuku (Sharks) and Ben Healy (Edinburgh) but the influence Burns had on Ulster’s result takes the cake. The playmaker was just that as he assisted two tries as he got his side out of a rut with a stunning second-half performance.

9 Morne van der Berg (Lions): The livewire scrum-half can be a real menace in tandem with Sanele Nohamba and that was the case as the Lions took apart Cardiff. Van den Berg assisted a try while beating four defenders as he rushed his opponents throughout. Ulster’s John Cooney was crucial again for the side.

Solid pack

8 Evan Roos (Stormers): The last couple of months have been solid for the Springbok who has picked up his carrying levels considerably and is starting to show the form that threw his name in lights in URC I. Roos made metres every carry, beat four defenders, scored a try and made 14 tackles in a tireless shift. Rising Bulls star Cameron Hanekom was brilliant again for the Pretoria side.

7 Sebastian Negri (Benetton): The Italian did what he always does; attempt to obliterate anything in his path, ball in hand or not. Negri made a whopping 22 carries for Benetton while somehow finding the time to make 18 tackles. What a shift that is from the flank who is any coach’s dream. Rory Darge of Glasgow was also in good form.

6 Elrich Louw (Bulls): The loose forward is really maturing quite nicely this season as both a player and a leader. Louw was one of the chief ball carriers for the Bulls taking the ball up 14 times which resulted in a try. He emptied the tank in defender making 11 tackles and his efforts get in ahead of Leinster’s Ryan Baird.

5 Tadhg Beirne (Munster): An absolute Rolls Royce of a second-row. Beirne made over 10 tackles, assisted a try and operated the lineout with aplomb. He was world-class yet again and its no surprise that Leinster’s Jason Jenkins just misses out.

4 RG Snyman (Munster): It is also no surprise that Snyman features after another commanding shift and his first start at Thomond Park. The Springboks scored a try and put his hand up to carry throughout. His defence was immaculate making 10 tackles and missing none. Stormers skipper Salmaan Moerat is next best after a big defensive shift against the Dragons.

3 Stephen Archer (Munster): A busy outing from a player that very rarely makes errors. Archer was solid in the scrum while also making nine tackles and six carries during Munster’s win over Connacht. Ireland Test star Tadhg Furlong was also solid for Leinster.

2 Ewan Ashman (Edinburgh): It was a splendid day for the hooker who was at the double against Zebre this weekend. Outside of that he carried rather well and hit his jumpers in the lineout. Not even the rampant Bull Akker van der Merwe could get in front of the Scot.

1 Ox Nche (Sharks): The loosehead bagged a rare try in an otherwise solid outing for the Sharks. Nche was brilliant in the set-piece and also made eight tackles at 100% success. His efforts get him ahead of Edinburgh’s Pierre Schoeman.

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