Kings flyhalf Lionel Cronje ended his best season the same way he had begun it – by earning a place in the Stats XV.
13 – Jesse Kriel (Bulls)
Attack: 2 tries, 10 carries, 169 metres run, good passes 6/6, 4 linebreaks
Defence: 5 tackles, 1 missed tackle, 83% completion, 2 dominant tackles, 1 turnover won
Kicks: 1 kick from hand, 16 kicking metres
10 – Lionel Cronje (Kings)
Attack: 5 points, 9 carries, 75 metres run, good passes 12/15, 1 linebreak, 1 offload, 1 tackle break
Defence: 3 tackles, 1 missed tackle, 75% completion
Kicks: 16 kicks from hand, 508 kicking metres
Errors: 3 handling errors
8 – Nizaam Carr (Stormers)
Attack: 15 carries, 96 metres run, good passes 10/13, 2 linebreaks, 3 offloads
Defence: 11 tackles made, 1 missed tackle, 92% completion, 2 dominant tackles
Errors: 1 handling error
5 – RG Snyman (Bulls)
Attack: 5 carries, 38 metres run, good passes 5/7, 1 offload
Defence: 15 tackles made, 2 missed tackles, 88% completion, 1 turnover won
Errors: 1 free kick conceded, 2 handling errors
First Phase: 8 lineouts won, 1 lineout stolen
The 28-year-old journeyman playmaker led the Kings to a franchise-best 6-9 record this season, replacing his reputation for freestyling with an uncharacteristic commitment to his team’s kicking plans.
Super Rugby’s most prolific tactical kicker in 2017, Cronje caught the eye in Round 1 and again on Friday night when he put boot to ball 16 times in a 21-20 loss against the Cheetahs. The match doubled as the last in Super Rugby for both teams who have been linked with a move to Europe’s Pro12 competition.
Cronje is set to jet off to Japan where he will make plays for Toyota Verblitz, and he will no doubt make the most of the Stats XV fines meeting before he bids farewell to the Republic.
There will be three other South Africans shouting “buffalo!” at that meeting, including the Bulls duo of Jesse Kriel and RG Snyman, and Stormers No 8 Nizaam Carr.
Snyman took eight lineouts while Kriel crossed for two more tries, one a long-range intercept, as the Bulls went down 41-33 against the visiting Stormers on Saturday.
Both were on the receiving end of Carr’s performance – 96 metres gained from 2 linebreaks in 15 carries, 3 offloads and 10 of 13 passes hit the mark, and there were 2 dominant hits in 11 tackles!