Super Rugby: Team of the Week

Date published: May 27 2014

Now that the dust has settled in the south, we thought it was only right to hand out praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 15.

Now that the dust has settled over in the southern hemisphere, Planet Rugby thought it was only right to hand out some praise to the stars of Super Rugby, Round 14.

Super Rugby Team of the Week: Round 15

15 Ben Smith (Highlanders): The usual candidates for the full-back berth this week. The showdown between Smith and Israel Dagg lived up to it's billing with both players in outstanding form. Smith gets the nod though after scoring a try and setting up another. A mention, as always, for Israel Folau

14 Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders) : You'll have to forgive us for shifting the Flying Fijian to the right wing because we simply couldn't leave him out. Possibly the player of the round, he beat 10 defenders, made 141 metres and scored a try. Brilliant.

13 Malakai Fekitoa (Highlanders): It's taken a long time to find an heir to Conrad Smith's black 13 jersey, but look no further, this guy is the real deal and is becoming a regular feature of our weekly selection. Nine defenders beaten, four clean breaks and try against the Crusaders…he's on fire! A mention for Adam Ashley-Cooper.

12 Damian de Allende (Stormers) : A handful of candidates here as both De Allende and Jan Serfontein were given Man of the Match awards while Alapati Leiua was excellent for the 'Canes. The Stormer gets the nod however for his standout performance in tough conditions ar Newlands.

11 Julian Savea (Hurricanes) : Another two-try haul for Savea, who also set up another while winning over 120 metres and making four clean breaks. An easy pick for the All Black selectors.

10 Colin Slade (Crusaders): Not an easy choice between Slade, Beauden Barrett and Bernard Foley. Barrett missed five tackles and Foley's erratic goalkicking swung the balance in Slade's favour. He made 91 metres, scored 12 points and beat three defenders with a couple of clean breaks.

9 Aaron Smith(Highlanders): On the losing side but a whisker away from victory, Smith played a role in creating three of his side's tries against the Crusaders in another impressive outing. Mentions for Sharks try-scorer Cobus Reinach and Francois Hougaard.

8 Victor Vito (Hurricanes): Vito was out of this world for the 'Canes at the line-out, winning 13 on his own ball and stealing two. Those stats are some of the best we've seen this year. Add that to a good handful of tackles and an assist and there was no way he was going to miss out. A mention for Warren Whiteley of the Lions who made an eye-watering 22 tackles.

7 Matt Hodgson (Force): Captain fantastic was at it again for the Western Force in their win over the Lions, scoring two tries including the clincher at the death that secured both the match and a try bonus point. Hodgson is a huge part of why the Force are currently fourth in the standing. Jack Lam gets a nod after his 15 tackles and try against the Chiefs, as does Jono Ross for his double against the Brumbies.

6 Dave Dennis (Waratahs): Another Australian captain setting the tone for his team. Dennis' gritty work alongside Michael Hooper and Wycliff Palu gave the Waratahs backs room to run in their convincing win in Melbourne. A key cog in the 'Tahs line-out, who targeted him successfully seven times. Mentions for the impressive Jordan Taufua of the Crusaders along with Jerome Kaino.

5 Victor Matfield (Bulls): The veteran is striking form at the right time and was one of the Bulls' best players in a memorable win over the Brumbies. Matfield carried well but also did his bit on defence, with eight tackles, and beats out Sam Whitelock who impressed on defence for the Crusaders.

4 Etienne Oosthuizen (Sharks): Is relishing the role as the Durban-based outfit's enforcer and combined well with Stephan Lewies against the Blues. Was prominent with ball in hand – with six carries – but also put his body on the line on defence making 15 tackles.

3 Nepo Laulala (Crusaders): The 21-year-old came into the seven-times champions' starting line-up at the expense of first-choice All Black tighhead Owen Franks, whose presence was hardly missed. Laulala scored a deserved try and delivered a solid scrummaging display against the Highlanders. He deserves credit, along with his fellow front-rowers, for pushing their opponents off the ball at a set-piece which won the Crusaders' a turnover and set up their first try.

2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks): The Sharks skipper was inspirational in the tabletoppers' win over the Blues. Was rewarded with an early try, which gave the Sharks momentum, but also impressed with his leadership, especially when his brother Jannie and Frans Steyn received yellow cards. Impressed on defence with 12 hits and beats out Dane Coles of the Hurricanes.

1 Beast Mtawarira (Sharks): Another Shark, who caught the eye mostly due to his excellent defence. With 17 hits, Mtawarira made the second most tackles for his team and got the better of All Blacks counterpart Charlie Fauimuina in their duel at the scrums. Edges out Crusaders front-row Tim Perry (Crusaders) who stood out against the Hurricanes.