My Say – Super Rugby team of the Tournament

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With the Crusaders’ victory in Johannesburg on the weekend bringing an end to the 2017 edition of Super Rugby, I have selected a team of players who I’ve felt have shone in the competition this year. The addition of four Southern Kings players underlines just how well they performed this season, while the lack of Australian representation tells a story on its own.

  1. Joe Moody – An integral cog in the most efficient pack in the competition, Moody’s scrummaging prowess and tireless work rate ensured his Crusaders boys stormed their way to the title.
  2. Malcolm Marx – Marx has been a colossus for the Lions for the past two seasons now, and is a perfect example of the modern hooker. Was recently tipped by Warren Whiteley to have the potential to play 100 Test matches – some compliment indeed.
  3. Owen Franks – Along with Moody, Franks ensured his ‘Saders’ tight-five became the most feared in the competition. Despite picking up an injury during the playoffs, the 94-Test capped All Black bravely managed to soldier on.

     

  4. Brodie Retallick – Undeniably the finest in his position in the world, don’t be surprised if “Big Brodie” picks up another World Player of the Year title in November. He’s simply unstoppable.

     

  5. Franco Mostert – May have been overshadowed by Sam Whitelock in the grand final, but Mostert’s consistency and ability to pinch opposition lineout ball (he poached the most in the competition) ensures his spot on the team.

     

  6. Jaco Kriel (captain) – Led the Lions admirably in the wake of Warren Whiteley’s injury, Jaco was unlucky not to have lifted the trophy at the conclusion of the final.

     

  7. Chris Cloete – Who else? The opensider is built like a terrier, and was one of the Kings’ most consistent performers throughout the competition. Having signed for Munster ahead of the European season, he will be sorely missed down in Port Elizabeth.

     

  8. Andise Ntsila – The 98kg Southern Kings eighthman was in imposing defensive form for his side in 2017, making a whopping 153-tackles. The 23-year-old Queens College product has a bright future ahead of him.

     

  9. TJ Perenara – Perenara has been absolutely superb for the past few seasons now, and his pace, power and willingness to attack has seen his stocks rise quite considerably of late. He may well challenge Aaron Smith for the starting All Black scrumhalf berth in the upcoming Rugby Championship.

     

  10. Lionel Cronje – A perennial Super Rugby backpacker in the past, the talented number 10 made the most of his opportunities in 2017, where his fantastic game-management and silky skills ensured his Southern Kings side punched above their weight throughout the campaign.

     

  11. Makazole Mapimpi – This man has some serious gas. Mapimpi thrilled the Nelson Mandela Bay faithful with some breath-taking moments this year, on his way to claiming the Southern Kings’ Player of the Year.

     

  12. Harold Vorster – Assuming the Lions’ no. 12 reins after an injury to Rohan James van Rensburg early on in the season, Vorster became the heartbeat of a thrilling backline that utterly blew opposition defences out of the water. A Springbok in waiting.

     

  13. Ryan Crotty – He may be a natural 12, but Crotty certainly has the ability to play at 13. Crotty capped off a spectacular season by being named MOTM in the Grand Final. A seriously underrated player.

     

  14. Kobus van Wyk – A selection that may perhaps raise a few eyebrows, nevertheless the bruising Sharks winger never failed to produce for his franchise in 2017 and perhaps doesn’t always get the credit he deserves.

     

  15. David Havili – In a Crusaders side full of bright prospects, Havili must surely shine the brightest. After a monstrous effort in the final, it can’t be too long before he catches the eye of Steve Hansen’s coaching staff.

Lionel Cronje, captain of the Southern Kings.

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