Round 6 seemed like a pretty clear cut week tipping wise and whilst the Highlanders 52-12 thrashing of the Rebels came as no surprise, the rest of the fixtures were significantly closer games than the final scores convey. The Blues over the Force, Chiefs over the Bulls, Hurricanes over the Reds and Crusaders over the Waratahs were actually very intense matches until blowing out in the last quarter. The Lions vs Sharks was a game of inches, the Sharks really taking it to last years runners up. The scoreline was a seesaw affair in what turned into a penalty goal shootout in the second half until Jaco Kriel (43) went over the line for a late try to end the calamity.
Whilst Sarel Petrus Marais might sound like something out of Harry Potter, either the stats man is in SP’s pocket or he may in fact be a real life wizard. The Stormers backline were unstoppable this week, racking up over 350 points with the back three taking the lion’s share at 223 points, Cheslin Kolbe (64) and Dillyn Leyds (54). SP Marais (105) didn’t score a try of his own but rather handed them out to teammates with 4 try assists, 7 offloads and creating 3 linebreaks. Add to this SP’s own 140 run metres, 6 tackle busts and 2 line breaks and well the numbers start to add up, still wow though. I ate my words this week after dropping Sikhumbuzo Notshe, the man scored three tries and scored his probably career highest fantasy score of 83.
Akira Ioane (58) took the field just under 10 minutes before the half and boy he must of been sick of the bench because he produced a mountain of work in what must have been close to a man of the match performance doubling his total fantasy points in 2017. The Hurricanes brother duos were getting it done against the Reds, with the younger brothers eclipsing their elders, 19 year old Jordie Barrett (77) taking both the points and the kicking duties from IRB world player of 2016 Beauden Barrett (43), and Ardie Savea (62) again trumping Julian Savea (47). Not to be outdone in that Hurricanes outfil though, captain TJ Perenara picked up 52 points even after being denied a try for sneakily not tapping the ball before darting over the tryline. Waratahs new starting scrum half Jake Gordon (48) was the 2016 NRC’s top try scorer and he found that form in just his second starting game with a try, almost 70 run metres, 4 tackle busts and 2 line breaks. 50 points as a scrumhalf almost equates to a 100 point outside back score, so full credit must go to both TJ and JG this week.
Highlander’s centres Malakai Fekitoa (62) and Richard Buckman (61) had impressive games, whilst the outside backs for the Chiefs, (James Lowe 58, D McKenzie 55) and Crusaders (G Bridge 70, D Havili 59) did well this week. Dane Haylet-Petty (54) and Matt Philip (56) stood out in a spirited Force performance, likewise Scott Higganbotham (64) putting his hand up for a wallabies jersey and Samu Kerevi (48), Eto Nabuli (46) for the Reds. Handre Pollard (46) is fast firming up if he hasn’t already the Springbok 10 jersey after surgery last year and of a similar stature and playing style, Stormers flyhalf Robert Du Preez (42) has also been playing superb footy.
Team of the Week (TOTW):
Coenie Oosthuizen (SHA) – 35 points, 60 mins, 1 try, 4 runs for 39m, 1 tb, 1 turnover and 5 tackles
Atu Moli (CHI) – 34 points, 40 mins, 1 try, 4 runs, 2 tackle busts, 1 linebreak and 2 tackles.
Ben Funnell (CRU) – 41 points. Topped the round for the hookers. Despite coming off the bench each week, Funnell is the 8th ranked fantasy hooker, scoring a try for the third consecutive week and 41 points for the second consecutive week, all in under 30 mins of game time! – 27 mins, 1 try, 3 runs, 2 tb, 1 linebreak and 5 tackles.
Mat Philip (FOR) – 56 points. Now the third ranked lock! Philip has played his 4th consecutive 80 minute game for the Force and has been raking in the points. In the 77th minute against the blues this week, Philip showed a turn of pace to make a linebreak, run 30 or so meters and then give a great pass for a try assist. Why would you take him off? 56 points, 13 runs for 84m, 2 tackle busts, 2 offloads, 1 linebreak, 1 try assist, 9 tackles, 2 lineout takes and 1 lineout steal.
Brodie Retallick (CHI) – 43 points, 1 try assist, 9 runs for 37m, 1 offload, 1 linebreak created, 12 tackles, 2 lineouts taken and 1 stolen and a turnover forced.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe (STO) – 83 points, 3 tries, 10 runs for 89m, 2 tackle busts, 3 linebreaks and 9 tackles.
Scott Higginbotham (RED) – 64 points, a try, try assist, 5 runs for 35m, 1 tackle bust, 1 offload, 1 linebreak, 2 linebreaks created, 10 tackles and 2 lineout takes and 2 penaltys forced.
Paul Schoeman (CHE) – 60 points, 1 try, 7 runs for 45m, 3 tackle busts,1 offload, 2 linebreaks and 17 tackles!
Honourable mention – Michael Hooper (WAR) – 59 points.
TJ Perenara (HUR) – 52 points, 1 try, 4 runs for 90m, 1 tackle bust, 2 offloads, 2 linebreaks created, 7 tackles and a penalty forced.
Honourable mention – Jake Gordon (WAR) – 48 points
Handre Pollard (BUL) – 46 points, 4 penalty goals, 11 runs for 76m, 2 tackle busts and 10 tackles.
Honourable mention – Beauden Barrett (HUR) – 43 points & Robert Du Preez (STO) 42 points
Jordie Barrett (HUR) – 77 points, 1 try, 1 try assist, 3 conversions, 1 penalty goal, 10 runs for 97m, 5 tackle busts, 3 offloads, 2 linebreaks, 1 linebreak created, 2 tackles.
Malakai Fekitoa (HIG) – 62 points, 2 tries, 1 trysaver, 7 runs for 84m, 5 tackle busts, 1 linebreak and 6 tackles.
Honourable mentions to Richard Buckman (HIG) – 61 points and David Havili (CRU) – 59 points
SP Marias (STO) – 105 points, 4 try assists, 12 runs for 140m, 6 tackle busts, 7 offloads, 2 linebreaks, 3 linebreaks created and 4 tackles made.
Kobus Van Wyk (SHA) – 72 points, 1 try, 1 try assist, 7 runs for 90m, 7 tackle busts, 4 linebreaks and 6 tackles made.
George Bridge (CRU) – 70 points, 1 try, 12 runs for 170m, 8 tackle busts, 1 offload, 2 linebreaks and 4 tackles made.
Honourable mentions to Cheslin Koble (STO) with 64 points and James Lowe (CHI) with 58.