URC Team of the Week: Ospreys ‘heroes’ rewarded after stunning Stormers win as rising Springboks star ‘shows his class’

David Skippers
URC TOTW image 22 April 2024.jpg

Emmanuel Tshituka of the Lions, Sam Parry of the Ospreys and Jack Crowley of Munster.

Following another enthralling weekend of United Rugby Championship (URC) action, here is the Planet Rugby Team of the Week for Round 14.

After clinching a shock victory over the Stormers in Cape Town, the Ospreys lead the way with four representatives in our side while Munster and the Bulls are next best with three players apiece.

United Rugby Championship Team of the Week

15 Wes Goosen (Edinburgh): The New Zealander was in red hot form in his side’s emphatic victory over the Scarlets at Hive Stadium. Goosen gained 96 metres on attack from 16 runs which included two clean breaks, eight defenders beaten and a well-taken try. He comes in ahead of Max Nagy of the Ospreys, Rhyno Smith of Benetton and Quan Horn of the Lions.

14 Luke Morgan (Ospreys): The Welsh region did what few teams have managed in the URC when they beat the Stormers in Cape Town and Morgan was one of their heroes as he delivered an outstanding performance. Morgan was a constant threat on attack and his efforts were rewarded as he crossed for two tries. In other action, Munster’s Calvin Nash and the Bulls’ Sebastian de Klerk also played well in their clash in Pretoria.

13 Canan Moodie (Bulls): The young Springbok continues to show his class in the Bulls’ midfield and delivered a solid performance in a narrow home defeat to Munster. The 21-year-old looked dangerous with ball in hand and finished with 34 metres gained from three runs but also delivered a solid defensive display and finished with 10 tackles made.

12 Alex Nankivell (Munster): Tough on Bundee Aki of Connacht, who had a good game in his side’s win over Zebre Parma but we’ve opted for Nankivell who put in a fine performance in hostile surroundings against the Bulls. Nankivell impressed with his playmaking skills as he created space for his team-mates and also shone on defence where he made eight hits.

11 Theo Cabango (Cardiff): Although Cardiff suffered a narrow defeat against Ulster, Cabango was one of his team’s best performers as he proved a real attacking threat. Ulster’s defence battled to contain the 22-year-old, who finished with 90 metres gained from seven runs after making two clean breaks from which he beat nine defenders and scored a brace of tries.

10 Jack Crowley (Munster): The Irish international fly-half played a leading role as Munster upset the apple cart in the URC standings by beating the Bulls in their own backyard. Crowley shone as his side’s chief playmaker and also kept the scoreboard ticking with solid goal-kicking as he added a couple of conversion an a penalty. He comes in ahead of Jack Walsh of the Ospreys and the Lions’ Sanele Nohamba.

Ospreys lauded for ‘big hearts’ and the comment that ‘tells you quite a lot’ about the team

9 Morne van den Berg (Lions): The nippy number nine produced an excellent performance as the Lions stunned Leinster in what proved to be a one-sided affair in Johannesburg. The 26-year-old provided a slick service to his outside backs and kept Leinster’s defence on their toes with his sniping breaks at close quarters. His efforts were rewarded with a try while he also did well on defence as he made 13 tackles.

Solid-looking pack

8 Evan Roos (Stormers): The Springbok number eight finished on the losing side against the Ospreys but can be proud of his efforts as he was one of the Stormers’ best performers in Cape Town. Roos proved difficult to stop on attack as he gained 96 metres from 16 carries which included a clean break, two defenders beaten and a try. Elsewhere, Benetton’s Toa Halafihi, Munster’s Jack O’Donoghue and the Bulls’ Elrigh Louw also impressed.

7 Harri Deaves (Ospreys): The Ospreys dominated the breakdown battle against the men from the Cape as they won several turnovers and the 22-year-old was at the forefront of that onslaught with a determined effort. The young tearaway also put his body on the line on defence and finished the match with 10 tackles made.

6 Emmanuel Tshituka (Lions): The Sharks-bound loose forward was one of the Lions’ heroes in that memorable triumph over Leinster as he emptied the tank with a superb all-round performance. The 23-year-old gained 51 attacking metres from nine runs, beating seven defenders and crossed for two tries. He was also lively on defence as he made 13 hits.

5 JF van Heerden (Bulls): Another player from a losing side in our team but the 19-year-old was one of the Bulls’ best performers as he put up a brave effort against the defending champions. Van Heerden was a valuable source of possession in the lineouts and was a willing ball carrier.

4 RG Snyman (Munster): The two-time Rugby World Cup winner returned to Munster’s run-on side after missing the Champions Cup play-offs due to illness but hit the ground running against his former team, the Bulls. As expected, Snyman was solid in the lineouts but made his biggest contribution in the execution of his defensive duties where he made 11 tackles.

3 Wilco Louw (Bulls): The Springbok strongman mentioned the importance of the scrum in the build-up to the Bulls’ clash with Munster and put up a solid display during a 70-minute stint at Loftus Versfeld. Apart from his efforts at scrum-time, Louw also delivered a fine defensive performance as he made 10 tackles. He beats out Reece Henry of the Ospreys.

2 Sam Parry (Ospreys): This was a tough decision as Italy hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi put in a good shift during Benetton’s victory over the Dragons but Parry gets the nod after a strong performance in the Welsh region’s triumph in Cape Town. The 32-year-old shone in the execution of his core duties with his defensive work particularly impressive, especially at close quarters around the fringes of the rucks.

1 Nicky Smith (Ospreys): The experienced Wales international was involved in a fascinating scrum battle against arguably the best tighthead prop in the game, two-time Rugby World Cup winner Frans Malherbe, and can be proud of his efforts as he stood up well in that facet of play. The 30-year-old also made his presence felt on defence with six tackles made.

READ MORE: Graham Rowntree ‘immensely proud’ after historic win at Bulls as Munster relishing ‘pressure games’