Du Preez soars in Soweto

Keo.co.za rates the Bulls players in the Super 14 final at Orlando Stadium.

RATINGS OUT OF 10:

15 Zane Kirchner (5) – Fairly anonymous throughout because of the Bulls’ tactics, but joined the line well on occasion, kicked well and always strong on defence and sharp in his positional play.

14 Gerhard van den Heever (not enough time to be rated) – His contribution extended to a break down the touchline in the first half where he should have offloaded with two men in support, before going off in the ninth minute in tears.

13 Jaco Pretorius (5) – The Bulls’ pragmatic tactics meant Pretorius’s role revolved largely around kick chases and tackling, both of which he did well.

12 Wynand Olivier (6) – Carried strongly when he did get the ball and was always solid on defence. His organisation of the backline is superb.

11 Francois Hougaard (7) – Once again exhibited a temperament that belies his youth. His most significant contribution was the game’s first try, where he ran a great line and sprinted through a gap to score. Looked for work throughout the match and established himself as a strong contender for the Springbok wing berth, despite being a specialist scrumhalf.

10 Morné Steyn (7) – He in combination with Fourie du Preez kicked the Stormers to smithereens, but he was also good when standing flat to the gain line and on defence. Threw the intercepted pass that got the Stormers back in the match, but ultimately that wasn’t costly.

9 Fourie du Preez (9) – Masterful. There is nothing beyond his capability. Brilliantly weighted box kicks, sniping breaks, great positioning and awareness and a rugby brain second to none. Light-years ahead of every No 9 on the planet.

8 Pierre Spies (6) – He’s a marked man which means he had little space to operate either off the back of the scrum or in open play. However, he always committed a couple of defenders when he did carry and that in itself is invaluable against a side as well organised defensively as the Stormers.

7 Dewald Potgieter (7) – His work rate was excellent on defence, and he was always combative and physical in the tackle.

6 Deon Stegmann (7) – He was a constant threat at the breakdown and his efforts contributed significantly in compromising the Stormers’ ability to get any momentum into their attacks.

5 Victor Matfield (c) (7) – His leadership is exceptional and tonight he showed the poise, patience and tactical intelligence of a man who has been in numerous high pressure matches and emerged victorious. He wasn’t to be outshone by his apprentice Andries Bekker at lineouts or in general play. A well deserved third title as captain.

4 Danie Rossouw (7) – Bakkies who? Rossouw’s physicality ensured the Bok enforcer wasn’t missed and he dragged his heavy frame across the track relentlessly in pursuit of those in white jerseys. Cleaned powerfully and was a force at the gain line.

3 Werner Kruger (7) – Scrummed well, earning two penalties (both converted) and was another who refused to relent on defence and in terms of ruck cleans.

2 Gary Botha (7) – Picked his jumpers off regularly and showed rabid enthusiasm in the tight-loose and open play on attack and defence. However, his value is found at scrum time, where he sets a high standard and forces his props to lift theirs.

1 Gurthrö Steenkamp (7) – Excellent work rate in defence and frighteningly powerful in the collisions and in ruck cleans. Has reached a new level in his ability and should be an asset to the Springboks with Beast Mtawarira’s Test career on ice.

Subs:

16 Bandise Maku – Not enough time to be rated.

17 Bees Roux – Not enough time to be rated.

18 Flip van der Merwe (6) – On in 60th minute and continued where Rossouw left off, carrying and tackling like man possessed.

19 Derick Kuün – Not enough time to be rated.

20 Jacques-Louis Potgieter – Not enough time to be rated.

21 Jaco van der Westhuyzen (5) – On in the ninth minute, but like the rest of the back division, saw little ball, his role being reduced to one of kick chaser.

22 Pedrie Wannenberg (6) – On in the 60th minute and injected energy and physicality at a time the Bulls needed it.

Frans Ludeke and coaching staff (9) – Ludeke secures his second Super Rugby title to go with a Currie Cup in his third season in charge. He started diabolically but now must receive the praise due to him and indeed his coaching staff. He has managed and coached a gifted team expertly.

By Ryan Vrede, at Orlando Stadium, Soweto