Now that the dust has settled in the south, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the star players of Super Rugby, Round 16.
Now that the dust has settled in the southern hemisphere, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 16.
Without further ado, here comes our offering – be sure to send in your own 15-1 team selections.
Super Rugby, Team of Round 16
15 Ben Smith (Highlanders) – Concussed last week against the Force but managed to pass the relevant tests in order to to take on the Blues. Smith is a full-back who rarely has a poor outing. This past round he scored two tries and was a constant running threat. New Zealand's form 15.
14 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs) – One hopes the Springboks give him the decent chance at international level he deserves. Le Roux has been a standout for a couple of seasons now for both the Griquas and Cheetahs and scored a superb solo try. Mention for 'Canes wing Alapati Leiua.
13 Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies) – Has gone about his business under the radar somewhat this season but has become an important cog in the Brumbies' back-line. Runs hard in midfield outside Christian Lealiifano which creates options for the outside backs. A good prospect.
12 Jan Serfontein (Bulls) – Accelerated into the senior Bok group and seems set to earn his first cap in the coming weeks. Made over 50 metres against the Cheetahs – beating five defenders in all – as his showing seemed to oust Robert Ebersohn for a place in the 34.
11 Peter Betham (Waratahs) – Mentions for Hosea Gear and Waisake Naholo right off the bat but for the selected New Zealander, it was a special effort against his countrymen. Part of Canterbury neighbours Tasman in the ITM Cup, Betham finished his try well.
10 Matt Toomua (Brumbies) – Jake White has a pair of half-backs who seldom have bad days at the office. Toomua, alongside Nic White, has been superb in 2013 and was his usual solid self in defence while kicking smartly from hand and offering a running game.
9 Brendan McKibbin (Waratahs) – Many view the 57th minute as being a major turning point in the game at AMI Stadium. McKibbin was subbed despite playing a blinder, which does beg the question why coaches persist with pre-planned changes when things are peachy.
8 Mose Tuiali'i (Highlanders) – Was hugely influential in his side's success over the Blues. Crossed the advantage line at will, combined well with his backs and was prominent in the build-up to tries for Smith and Hosea Gear. Scott Higginbotham impressed once again.
7 Michael Hooper (Waratahs) – Proved again why he is currently Australia's best openside flanker with a polished display against the Crusaders. Hooper won his personal duel at the breakdown against Crusaders tearaway Matt Todd and was devastating in attack, gaining 80 metres. Edges out Blues forager Luke Braid who did well against the Highlanders.
6 Arno Botha (Bulls) – Went head-to-head with Cheetahs counterpart Lappies Labuschagne and edged that battle. Impressed with ball in hand and also defended well with 11 tackles.
5 James Horwill (Reds) – Was at the forefront of the Reds' comeback against the Rebels in Brisbane. Impressed with his leadership when his side was under the cosh, and took the game to his opponents with fine driving play. Also won a handful of line-outs at Suncorp.
4 Brad Thorn (Highlanders) – Another vintage display from the former All Blacks enforcer. Made his tackles, cleaned out the rucks and also went on a few barnstorming runs. Crusaders enforcer Luke Romano also caught the eye in the win against the 'Tahs.
3 Werner Kruger (Bulls) – Capped a fine performance in the set-pieces by scoring one of the Bulls' tries against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. He comes in ahead of James Slipper who shone in the Reds' win over the Rebels, covering a great deal of ground for a prop.
2 Andrew Hore (Highlanders) – Returned to the starting XV and was definitely back to his best form. Carried strongly, made his tackles and also made a nuisance of himself at the breakdowns. Beats out Stormers rake Tiaan Liebenberg who impressed against the Kings.
1 Jamie Mackintosh (Highlanders) – Did well in a rare start. Although the former skipper has been Tony Woodcock's back-up for most of the campaign, he's given coach Jamie Joseph a nice selection poser after a strong scrummaging display against the Blues.