The best performers from Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU combine in our latest team of the week.
15. Michael Collins (Highlanders)
Pips Jordie Barrett to the No 15 jersey with a superb display against the Chiefs. Always looked dangerous with ball in hand and made the most of his space. Moved to the centre in the second half and was just as good.
14. Byron Ralston (Western Force)
Impressed with some strong runs down his flank that had the Reds defence scrambling. Made it three tries in two games with a brace including a well read intercept that saw him run 90-metres to score. A great start to his Super rugby career.
13. Peter Umaga-Jensen (Hurricanes)
Some straight and strong running saw him smash through the Blues defence early on which set the tone for him for the rest of the game. Along with Laumape, they kept the Blues defence very busy indeed.
12. Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes)
Was this the performance of the week? Aaron Smith may have something to say about that but Laumape made his mark – especially on Beauden Barrett. Showed plenty of gas to get away from Barrett after wrong footing him and barrelled through Otere Black to score. Some massive carries from the centre as well as some massive hits – Matt Duffie certainly felt a few of them!
11. Andy Muirhead (Brumbies)
He may have been yellow carded in the first half after the Brumbies were warned for persistent offsides, but he came back with a very strong performance. Made plenty of metres with ball in hand as he beat ten defenders.
10. James O’Connor (Reds)
Really controlled the game for the Reds and is looking better and better in the fly-half role. His decision making was excellent and some good tactical kicking too – his working with Dave Alred is certainly paying off!
9. Aaron Smith (Highlanders)
Edges TJ Perenara this week with a brilliant display for the Highlanders. Took control and was influential in everything they did well. He was involved in three of their four tries – including a superb one for himself.
1. Tom Robertson (Waratahs)
A wonderful return after recovering from a back injury, Robertson was part of a Waratahs front row that took apart the much-vaunted Brumbies front row. The ‘tahs got onto the front foot thanks to their forwards and will be wondering how they let this one slip away.
2. Dane Coles (Hurricanes)
Coles led from the front with a strong performance, especially in the forward exchanges. Some good arrows and a try to give his side the lead.
3. Taniela Tupou (Reds)
Controlled aggression is what the Reds needed from him and that is exactly what they got. Really took the game to the Force as he helped them dominate the scrum. Some strong carries and good work at the breakdown too.
4. Ned Hanigan (Waratahs)
Took control at the lineout against the Brumbies and was powerful in the scrum. A big shift in defence that looked to have won the game for the Waratahs.
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Reds)
Looks to have found his place in the second row and produced the goods. Had a massive impact at the lineout and also did the hard yards come the ruck and maul. Carried well and defensively strong.
6. Lachlan Boshier (Chiefs)
Boshier just seems to get better and better and produced another great performance albeit on the losing side once again. Scored a try early on off a lovely running line. Was their go to man at the lineout and was once again brilliant at the breakdown – he secured two turnovers late in the game which looked to have set them up for the win.
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes)
Just what you want from your No 7 – to be everywhere! Attacked strongly and was a nuisance at the breakdown. Some nice linking up with the backs and put plenty of tackles in too.
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