United Rugby Championship: Two Cents Rugby picks his top five players of the quarter-finals

·4-min read
 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Now that the final four have been decided in the United Rugby Championship (URC), Two Cents Rugby picks five of the best players from the quarter-final matches.

In no particular order, the YouTube star went for four forwards and one back, so without further ado, here they are. Have your say in the comments.

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Two Cent Rugby’s five top players

Caelan Doris (Leinster)

It’s no secret this guy is one of many favourite players to watch. The X-factor he brings just means you’re bound to see him do something extraordinary week in, week out.

In this game it was the ability to break through tackles or, in one case, cop a poor hit to the throat and still find a way to get the ball on to the try-line. He went close not long later, but three Sharks defenders managed to keep him out, although Leinster would find the space two phases later.

It’s no surprise to see that Doris was the top forward of the match for run metres and defenders beaten. He also made nine from 10 tackles on defence and was a real menace to the Sharks in a good day at the office for Leinster.

Shamus Hurley-Langton (Connacht)

In a game featuring a couple of Irish international back-rowers and a World Cup-winning Springbok number eight, it was great to see Connacht’s Hurley-Langton outshine them all with his massive work-rate on defence and with his ball carrying.

Connacht may not have scored any tries, but Hurley-Langton managed to get them some decent field position. He finished with 44 metres carried, more than any forward in the match, and with four defenders beaten – first equal for the game.

However, with points hard to come by, it was defence that won the visitors this URC quarter-final. The flanker finished with a couple of turnovers and was also his team’s top tackler with a huge 18 from 18. An all-round great performance.

Manie Libbok (Stormers)

It was pleasing to see Libbok get a crack with the Springboks and, with the World Cup on the horizon, the fly-half needed a performance like this to keep himself among the top names of that selection conversation.

The playmaker ran the backline well and set up a couple of plays where the Stormers opened up the Bulls’ defence. Libbok himself is credited with a clean break as well as beating three defenders, with his running game really making him a menace.

On top of that, he kicked flawlessly from the tee, adding 18 of the Stormers’ total 33 points. He and a couple of his backline colleagues kept the Bulls scrambling in the backfield with their kicking from hand, including a deft touch for Ruhan Nel on the counter attack. It’s great to see Libbok playing with such confidence.

Gavin Coombes (Munster)

Another Irish loose forward on the list, but admittedly a bit different from what I’m used to seeing from the Munsterman. Generally, Coombes is busting tackles and crashing over from impossible positions at close range.

Not so much in the game against Glasgow. Coombes was only able to break one tackle against the staunch Warriors rearguard, but where he did stand up was the defensive effort of his own.

He finished the game as one of the top tacklers with 16 and the top turnover merchant, bagging a couple. Coombes had more carries than any other player in the clash, underlining his determination in what was a real arm wrestle.

Marvin Orie (Stormers)

With South Africa having as many top-level locks as they do, it’s harder to stand out, but Orie managed it this week.

His most outstanding bit of individual brilliance was probably the athletic lineout steal he managed in the first half which saw his team rebuff the Bulls’ threat to gain momentum and sent his own team over for a try.

Aside from that was his work in the engine room, constantly clearing out and being ever-present at the breakdown, as well as finishing the top tackler in the match with 15 from 16. For context the next best player only had 11.

Orie won another throw on Stormers ball and put in a couple of passes as well. Another one keeping his name in the conversation for later in the year.

READ MORE: Two Cents Rugby picks his top five players of the Champions Cup semi-finals

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