Sharks and Springbok scrumhalf Grant Williams against the Stormers

Grant Williams in action against the Stormers. Photo: Sharks.

Stormers-Sharks player ratings: Bok hopefuls put their hands up

The Stormers beat the Sharks 29-23 to complete a clean-sweep over SA teams in URC this season and to extend their unbeaten home streak to 21.

Sharks and Springbok scrumhalf Grant Williams against the Stormers

Grant Williams in action against the Stormers. Photo: Sharks.

The Stormers beat the Sharks 29-23 to complete a clean-sweep over South African opposition in the URC this season and to extend their perfect run at Cape Town Stadium to a record 21 wins on the trot.

VIDEO: Springbok scrumhalf steps Seabelo Senatla into another dimension

The statement performance and result firmly puts the Stormers in the hot seat for a home quarter-final, while the loss means the Sharks are in jeopardy of missing out on a spot in the playoffs altogether.

According to the statistics, this was a one-sided encounter with the Stormers dominating all over the field and the Sharks living off scraps. But to mount a comeback from 26-6 down to 26-23 with about 10 minutes remaining, speaks volumes of this Sharks side’s tenacity.

Ultimately, it wasn’t to be for Neil Powell’s men, as they went all out for the win at the death, but ended up conceding a penalty which Manie Libbok slotted to secure a thrilling win for the Stormers.

ALSO READ: URC result — Stormers hold off Sharks in Cape Town

In terms of standout individual performances, below is a list of players who enhanced their reputation immense during this match.

Ruben van Heerden (7/10)

Earlier in the week, Stormers head coach John Dobson said he believes Van Heerden is the future of South African rugby, not just the Stormers, hinting that the 25-year-old is on well on track to become a Springbok.

And judging by his performance against the Sharks today, Dobson is spot on.

Van Heerden was a menacing figure throughout the clash, producing yet another display that proved he made the correct decision in returning to South Africa after a spell in England. If his consistency continues into the playoffs, there might well be a contract extension on the cards for Van Heerden.

Neethling Fouche (8/10)

More often than not, front rowers are the unsung heroes of their teams. And it is not different for the bulky Neethling Fouche, who has in the absence of Frans Malherbe, anchored the Stormers’ scrum.

On Saturday, Fouche produced another top-class scrumming performances against the Sharks, one that deserves as much credit as the backs get for scoring tries.

Deon Fourie (8/10)

He might have been the oldest playroom the park, but Fourie produced another industrious display, so much so it rendered him the best forward on the field… by some distance.

At 36 years of age, Fourie should be in the twilight of his career, but he seems to as menacing now than he was during the early parts of his career.

His consistency in fitness and form is quite remarkable, and there simply appears to be no slowing down for Fourie, who could well still be in the reckoning for Springbok selection.

Grant Williams (7/10)

The live-wire comfortably won his personal battle with fellow Springbok Herschel Jantjies, who is struggling to regain the form that had initially propelled him into the Springbok squad during the early stages of his career.

Back to Williams, he produced the best moment of an otherwise boring clash when he went on a darting run straight through the heart of the Stormers defence before stepping off both feet to bamboozle Seabelo Senatla at the back to score a try which brought his team back into the contest.

It wasn’t his greatest performance, but considering how the rest of his teammates fared, on the day it was a standout display from a Sharks point of view.

He also proved that should a scrumhalf spot in the Springbok squad become available, he ahead of Jantjies at the front of the queue.

Yaw Penxe (7/10)

Penxe came on as a replacement at the start of the second half after Aphelele Fassi was forced off due to injury and he did extremely well considering everyone else in the Sharks backline were ineffective up until that point in the game.

Penxe’s introduction injected some much-needed pace and vigour into the Sharks attack, proving that he can still add value to the Sharks team, despite the squad’s Galácticos-type depth (when everyone is available for selection).

Rohan Janse van Rensburg (7/10)

Janse van Rensburg was subdued in the first half, which was mostly due to the Sharks’ malfunctioning pack. But what he lacked in attacking plays, he made up for in defensive strength. The centre guarded his midfield channel well, despite the Stormers easily finding gaps in the Sharks’ defensive line.

The 28-year-old was at his bulldozing best as he got more involved in the second half. He made a few strong ball carries to him team over the gainline before one of his runs saw him power his way through half of the Stormers team and over the tryline for one of his signature scores. Janse van Rensburg’s second half display served to underline his importance to this Sharks side going forward.

Stormers lock in awe of Cape Town crowd

Full-time graphic Stormers vs Sharks
Full-time graphic Stormers vs Sharks