Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town – Springbok inside centre Jean de Villiers has come through his much-touted No 12 duel with Sonny Bill Williams largely unscathed.Click HERE to vote for your Super Rugby Dream Team
That is at least as far as Sport24 readers are concerned, judging by their ongoing confidence in De Villiers for Super Rugby Dream Team purposes this week.
Williams had some very influential moments during the Crusaders’ 20-14 defeat of the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday, but afterwards visiting coach Todd Blackadder praised the home midfield (also comprising impressive try-scorer Jaque Fourie) for similarly “getting through some holes” at times.
And De Villiers still earned emphatic, 90% support from Sport24 voters for the Week 13 South African Dream Team – it was a weekend, of course, where champions the Bulls had a bye.
Stalwart partner Fourie earned even greater approval (92%), as Stormers players continued to boss the XV despite the untimely, pre-tour reverse.
There are seven representatives of the Newlands-based franchise in the combo, with the Sharks next on five, following their own come-from-behind disposal of the Brumbies.
And the Cheetahs are rewarded for thrashing the hapless Lions last Friday night by seeing loosehead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, fullback Riaan Viljoen and scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius make the cut.
In the overall Dream Team XV for the season thus far, the Sharks are starting to make up good ground, in line with their still pretty good chance of hauling in the Stormers at the top of the South African conference.
There are now six representatives each from the two big coastal powers, with the rest of the XV made up of Bulls favourites Gerhard van den Heever (a tad surprisingly), Fourie du Preez and another mostly under-performing player in Bakkies Botha.