Less is really more… 3 Home games, 7 teams and one winner.
With an exciting Currie Cup 2019 behind us the we look at the season with ‘The Coach’.
The Currie Cup used this to promote the competition and here we are. The Free State Cheetahs were crowned the 2019 Champions and produced one of the team campaigns of this modern age.
One small moment in the last minute that defined this final was the battle between Sintu Manjezi and James Venter at the end of the game when after a tussle the Sharks bound loose-forward scored on the 80th minute. That was a pivotal young last battle because if it was an easy score any second earlier – a kick off was to be received by the Lions and they would have scored with the amount of momentum they had.
Try of the Season – The Pumas scored that one! A scintillating try which saw the backs and the forwards combine in the tail end of the game.
Jimmy Stonehouse’ men may have ended bottom but that was a gem. The try saw some skilful handling from the forwards that was very impressive. Have a look at the below try!
Moment of the season – Look, Damian Willemse could have pulled off a comeback, against Griquas down in Kimberley as he came on created chances, tries and line-breaks. It was a try in the last minute that meant Western Province receive the kick off they could have snatched this game.
They had momentum into that last ten minutes and the home side looked flustered. “The laws state – You can’t kick it directly out”. Step up George Whitehead with one of the most world class kick offs you will see, an unexpected grubber that bounced in front of Edwill van der Merwe and OUT.
Griquas secure a vital win to secure the first semi-final in 21 years.
Team of the season –
15 – Clayton Blommetjies: The best counter attacking full back in the league. Clayton had a rough spell in Wales and returned to add depth and quality to the Cheetahs attacking ranks to pull off several moments in the campaign. (Tyrone Green)
14 – Madosh Tambwe: Top Try Scorer of the competition, Tambwe is Sharks bound to add to their attacking prowess in the back three. Could have been a vital cog for the Lions with the dark cloud over Aphiwe Dyantyi. He has proved to be a finisher and he was the best in the competition. (William-Small Smith)
13 – Benhard Janse van Rensburg: The Shooter. Your thirteen is vital in defensive organization and in attack. The midfielder was exceptional this season as he produced some tries, great defensive plays by shooting out and marshalled the Cheetahs to a Currie Cup win. He has had a superb rebirth in Free State and was vital in their campaign. (Wandisile Simelane)
12 – Dries Swanepoel: The best inside centre in the competition. The player’s ability to carry it direct and distribute allowed him to be an influential player for the Cheetahs. He also managed to produce the second most tackles in the competition for the team. (Andre Swarts)
11 – Stean Pienaar: Power runner, a pivotal player for the Lions in attack as the winger managed to score some amazing tries, carry for considerable metres forward. He brought about excitement and intelligent link up play for the Johannesburg side. (Tian Meyer)
10 – George Whitehead: The best 10 in the competition and the Griquas captain earned himself a loan deal to the Cheetahs for Pro 14. The best tactical kicker in the competition and the most accurate goal kicker. It will come as a surprise if he isn’t the Griquas player of the year. He was key to their campaign. (Tian Schoeman)
9 – Ruan Pienaar: Fairy tale. Instrumental. His form and return didn’t take long to get up to standard and he was magnificent. He led the team with composure and created some quality tries when he faced his old side the Sharks. Ruan certainly rolled back the years and kicked superbly in the final. (Zak Burger)
8 – Henco Venter: One of the best forwards in the competition. The Sharks nab another player from the Cheetahs. Venter scored tries, made the most tackles for the franchise and he broke the most tackles. He was a destructive player who was on the field for the full Cheetahs campaign. (Hacjivah Dayimani)
7 – Juandre Rudolph: The most turnovers in the competition, no forward had more try assists as the Pumas man was exceptional in the Currie Cup. Rumours are swirling he may play some Super Rugby next year. It’ll be well deserved. Top quality loose forward who has the fight, defensive nous and attacking touch to excel. (Sikhumbuzo Notshe)
6 – Marnus Schoeman: Annoying flanker. You could see the irritation in his opponents’ faces. Great to have on your team (Sometimes). Unlucky to concede 4 penalties in the final but the former Pumas flank was a menace at the breakdown. He played a vital role on attack and defence for the Lions. (Junior Pokomela)
5 – Victor Sekekete: The shortest five lock in the competition according to Wikipedia. Rejected at the Bulls, Lions and Kings and offered a new lease of life in Kimberley. Sekekete was a Junior Bok who was set for glory only to fall off the radar. 2019 was his year as he ran the Griquas lineout like a seasoned pro; as they landed themselves in the play-offs. (Walt Steenkamp)
4 –Sintu Manjezi: The talisman that was never seen. Three game winning plays in the last minute against Western Province, Lions and the Pumas. Played a vital role for the Cheetahs on attack and on defence – never far from a hand bag, while combining line out takes, defensive hits, the second most breakdown and tackle turnovers in the competition and the vital cleaner for the Cheetahs on attack. (Ian Groenewald)
3 – Ewald van der Westhuizen: Struggled in the semi-final against the Lions but the tighthead prop had a strong season this year. He was an anchor at scrum time in particular against the Bulls at Loftus and Western Province. Anchor. (Wilco Louw)
2 – Joseph Dweba: Struggled a bit with his throws, managed to finish off team maul tries on many occasions but Dweba was one of the three main ball carriers for the Cheetahs and was vital in their ability to penetrate opposition defences and provide support in attack. (Scarra Ntubeni)
1 – Ox Nche: Off to the Sharks and he will no down go down as one of the greats of the Free State. It wasn’t just his scrummaging and massive hits that made Ox exceptional this season. It was his ability to produce go forward and gain line from quick ball and at no momentum. The Ox was a machine. (Dylan Smith)
Coach of the Season – Brent Janse van Rensburg: Taking a side fighting relegation the year before to breaking a 21 year wait for a play-off and then being nabbed by the Natal Sharks. He just edges Currie Cup winner Franco Smith.
‘The Coach’ will be giving us his insight from time to time