Who better to select a Varsity Cup Dream Team for 2019 than a man carefully studying each player every Monday night, as he describes in detail, just how thrilling a season it's been. We asked SuperSport commentator Anton Taylor to pen a 2019 Dream Team. Here's who he would select:
This year's Varsity Cup has seen some stunning performances, from exciting new talents. What a joy it has been to watch it all unfold. When picking dream teams it is always hard to separate whether a player is good in isolation, or whether he is just playing in a good team. But one also shouldn't disadvantage good players from good sides.
My hardest decision was flyhalf. Jordan Chait has been exceptional this year, having an almost perfect run. But he has also been playing for the most successful side to ever play in the Varsity Cup: this year Maties have broken records for (amongst others) points difference and pool stage points. Lubabalo Dobela has not the luxury of an ever-dominant pack that constantly smashes past the advantage line, but in his team's struggles he has become a hero, often carrying the team. After watching the two 10s square off in the semi-final I gave it to Lubabalo by a hair. Perhaps he was advantaged by being the shining light in a struggling side.
The easiest decision was the FNB Player that Rocks. The confidence that Chris Smit has played with this year is awe-inspiring. It's been a long time since I saw an individual player take control and dominate games in such a manner. FNB Back that Rocks, Edwill van der Merwe's record speaks for itself. And FNB Forward That Rocks Gary Porter was a soldier for UCT, carrying balls tirelessly and doing the dirty work. He did just enough to sneak past Nyasha Tarusenga.
Whilst I enjoy making my dream team, I am plagued by anxiety over who I've left out. Chris Massyn just came back too late into the season to feature on my list, and I nearly shed tears when I couldn't find a spot for James Tedder on my 23. Fullbacks Anton du Toit, Darian Hock, and Chuiner van Rooyen all cooked this season, but Tristan Lleyds pipped them.
So, enough waffling and trying to explain away my omissions. Here is my dream team for the 2019 Varsity Cup:
1. Tshegofatso Moloto (NWU)
2. Chucky van der Westhuizen (NWU)
3. Ruan Kramer (Shimlas)
4. Malembe Mpofu (UJ)
5. Gary Porter (UCT) FNB Forward that Rocks
6. Josh Moon (UCT)
7. Wian Conradie (NWU)
8. Nyasha Tarusenga (UCT)
9. Theo Maree (Tuks)
10. Lubabalo Dobela (Shimlas)
11. Edwill van der Merwe (Maties) FNB Back that Rocks
12. Chris Smit (Maties) FNB Player that Rocks
13. Cornel Smit (Maties)
14. Andre Manuel (UWC)
15. Tristan Lleyds (UWC)
16. Johan Grobelaar (Tuks)
17. Sanzi Sandi (Maties)
18. Simon Raw (UCT)
19. Ernst van Rhyn (Maties)
20. Hanru Sirgel (Tuks)
21. Zak Burger (Shimlas)
22. Jordan Chait (Maties)
23. Dan Kapepula Kasende (Wits)